MARIKANA, South Africa (AP) — Police firing tear gas and wielding batons sent men, women and children running back into their shacks in a crackdown on striking miners at a platinum mine.
Saturday’s show of force follows a South African government vow to halt illegal protests and disarm strikers who have stopped work at one gold and six platinum mines northwest of Johannesburg.
It was the first police action since officers killed 34 miners Aug. 16 in state violence that shocked the nation.
Police said about 500 officers raided hostels at Lonmin PLC platinum mine before dawn and confiscated homemade machetes, spears, knives and clubs.
Officers first fired tear gas at hundreds of miners who refused to disarm at the granite hill that has become the strikers’ headquarters.
Then they moved into the Wonderkop shantytown.