Fri, August 17, 2012
World > Africa

South African police open fire on striking miners, 30 killed

2012-08-17 06:41:52 GMT2012-08-17 14:41:52(Beijing Time)

More than 30 striking miners were killed yesterday in a police crackdown on striking miners in South Africa.

Bodies of striking miners lay on the ground after police opened fire on a crowd at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. South African police opened fire Thursday on a crowd of striking workers at a platinum mine, leaving an unknown number of people injured and possibly dead. Motionless bodies lay on the ground in pools of blood. (AP Photo)

Heavily armed South African police patrolled Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on Friday, where more than 30 striking miners were killed the previous day in a police crackdown that drew comparisons with apartheid-era brutality.

After more than 12 hours of official silence, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed that at least 30 people had died in the security operation at the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.

Police opened fire with automatic weapons when 3,000 striking drill operators armed with machetes and sticks ignored orders to disperse.

Mthethwa said the death toll from the incident, which cut to the quick of South Africa's post-apartheid psyche and sent world platinum prices more than two percent higher, was likely to rise.

"A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up," he said in an interview on Talk Radio 702.



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