Striking miners at Lonmin's mine in Marikana, North West, were not only armed with traditional weapons but wielded other deadly weapons, the Farlam commission heard on Thursday.
Cross-examining Pretoria Anglican bishop Johannes Seoka, police lawyer Ishmael Semenya said there was evidence of many attempts by police to disarm the strikers.
The strikers had defied the police's bids, said Semenya.
He played video footage captured on August 13 depicting a confrontation between police officers and the armed protesters near a railway line.
It showed North West deputy provincial police commissioner Major-General William Mpembe instructing the protesters to surrender their weapons.
Mpembe, accompanied by numerous armed police officers, told the group he would not allow them to proceed if they did not surrender the weapons.
He told them to stop their illegal gatherings.
In response, several leaders of the protesters told Mpembe that they would not disarm. They would only surrender their weapons when the police brought their employers to them. The strikers told Mpembe that they would not be fighting anyone.
Moments later, the group made a diversion and continued on its way, armed with pangas, spears, knobkerries and sticks.
Semenya said Mpembe allowed the group to proceed and avoided a violent confrontation.
However, at a spot nearby, there was a clash between police officers and the group that ended in two officers being "brutally hacked" to death.
"What we are seeing is a belligerent group. We are seeing people armed with very dangerous weapons. These are the people you met on August 16 at the koppie," said Semenya.
"Your evidence says your intercession may have avoided (prevented) the fatalities of August 16. That is an opinion that is blind to many facts. These facts include the fact that the president of Amcu, Joseph Mathunjwa, had failed to make the people disarm."
Seoka said had Lonmin mine co-operated on August 16, the protesters would have laid down their weapons and ultimately avoided bloodshed.
Earlier, the clergyman told the commission that Lonmin mine management did not want to negotiate with striking workers because they were "criminals and murderers".
Schalk Burger, SC, for Lonmin, took the clergyman to task over his evidence, which suggested that Lonmin missed an opportunity to negotiate with strikers on August 16.
Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on that day and 78 wounded when police tried to disperse the protesters, who had gathered on a hill near the mine.
In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death in violent encounters at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana.
Seoka was part of a group of religious leaders who had mediated talks between the strikers and the mine management.
Burger said Lonmin had reasonable grounds not to visit the koppie, in light of the violence and murders which had taken place on August 12 and 13.
He said mine representatives had told the clergyman that the gathering was illegal and should not be legitimised.
Seoka denied the claims.
"The word "legitimised" was not used in my presence that day [August 16]," he said.