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Man dies after being shot by police in S.African farm strike

One person has died after being shot by a police rubber bullet during South African farm worker strikes in the country’s fruit and wine growing region, authorities said Tuesday.

“We can confirm that a 23-year-old male was taken to hospital by unknown civilians and that he subsequently died due to injuries sustained during a shooting incident in De Doorns,” police said in a statement.

The death is the third since unrest hit South Africa’s key wine and fruit farming area in the Western Cape last year.

The man died on Monday after he was shot in De Doorns, a top grape growing region near Cape Town, which has been rocked since last week by skirmishes between rock throwing protesters and police firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

“The patient had suffered a rubber bullet injury to the head,” said Helene Rossouw, regional health spokeswoman, saying the man was transferred to a Cape Town hospital.

“The patient passed away later in the day,” she said.

Rossouw said 13 people had received hospital treatment since the protests flared up again last Wednesday over demands for an increase to their minimum daily wage.

“This is the first death related to the current protest action,” she said.

Unions at the weekend vowed to intensify violent stoppages in the picturesque Western Cape wine lands to push for a wage hike from 69 rand ($8, six euros) to 150 rand a day.

Many of those on strike are seasonal workers, according to farmers.

More than 160 people have been arrested since strikers resumed their protests after the strike tapered off for several weeks in December.