After an argument about pay and union recognition, workers in the Marikana mine protested on August 16 and confronted the police who responded with fire, killing 34 people, BBC writes.

All 270 protestors, even the ones standing in the back of the demonstration, will now be taken to court, said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Frank Lesenyego to BBC.

He said: “This is under common law, where people are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack the police and a shooting takes place and there are fatalities.”

A commission inquiry is to investigate the police, who didn’t open fire until ten people – two policemen and two security guards – had been killed in the conflict during the days before.

Police said they had been defending themselves from groups of minors with machetes, but a source close to the investigation told the South African Star newspaper that “the post-mortem reports indicate that most of the people were fleeing from the police when they got killed.”

South African Pulitzer Prize winner Greg Marinovich spent two weeks investigating in the case after the massacre. He wrote in the Daily Maverick: “Heavily armed police hunted down and killed the miners in cold blood. A minority were killed in the filmed event where police claim they acted in self-defence. The rest was murder on a massive scale.”

Outside the court near Pretoria where 264 workers will appear since six of them still are in the hospital, about 100 people are protesting and president Jacob Zuma told workers he ‘felt their pain’.

Zuma, who visited the mine after the national tragedy, told the Star newspaper conditions for miners had to improve. He said that at some places 666 people had to share one bathroom.

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