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South Africa police fire on striking miners, killing 34

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

A policeman fires at protesting miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 62 miles northwest of Johannesburg on Aug. 16.

GRAPHIC WARNING: This post contains graphic images which some viewers may find disturbing.

Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET Friday: South African police opened fire on Thursday against thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, killing 34 people.

The shooting is one of the worst in South Africa since the end of the apartheid era.

A Reuters cameraman said earlier on Thursday he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 62 miles northwest of Johannesburg.

Reuters reported: Police opened fire with automatic weapons on a group of men who burst out from behind a vehicle. The volley of bullets threw up clouds of dust, which cleared to reveal at least seven bodies lying on the ground, Reuters television footage showed.

The Marikana strikers have not made their demands explicit, although much of the bad blood at the mine stems from AMCU's challenge to the two-decade dominance of the National Union of Mineworkers, which is closely linked to the ruling African National Congress.

AP

Striking mineworkers throw stones as police open fire at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Aug. 16.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

A paramedic receives help from a policewomen as he tends to the injured after protesting miners were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg.

AP

Police surround the bodies of striking miners after opening fire on a crowd at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa on Aug. 16. 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.

Police in South Africa have opened fire on thousands of miners who were striking over their conditions and pay at a British-owned mine. At least a dozen have died. ITV's Paul Davies.

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