270 miners charged in co-workers' deaths

Story highlights

  • Police gunfire allegedly killed 34 striking miners during a clash
  • Arrested miners have been charged in the killings under common law
  • Police fired on thousands of machete-armed workers who were striking for higher wages

South African authorities have charged 270 miners with murder in the killings of 34 fellow workers, even though police are believed to have fired the fatal shots.

The workers were arrested after the deadly clash with police and were charged under a common-law provision that faults them for being involved in the clash.

Police spokesman Dennis Adrio said that some of those killed in the clash had gunshot wounds in their backs and that weapons were recovered at the scene.

South Africa fury over shooting tests Zuma

The August 16 clash happened after negotiations between striking miners and the mining company broke down and police decided to fence in machete-armed protesters with barbed wire, according to police.

    Just Watched

    S. African miners charged with murder

S. African miners charged with murder 02:43

    Just Watched

    Charges against miners 'extraordinary'

Charges against miners 'extraordinary' 03:35

    Just Watched

    270 miners charged in co-workers' deaths

270 miners charged in co-workers' deaths 04:05

The protesters moved toward police and were driven back with tear gas and rubber bullets, and officers resorted to live ammunition when protesters attacked, police have said.

Police gunfire killed 34 people and wounded 78.

    Thousands of machete-armed workers were striking for higher wages in the Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa, when police opened fire on their gathering. Earlier, two police officers had been hacked to death. The violence exploded when police shot at striking rock drillers in the "Easterns" area of the Marikana mine.

    Tensions have been high in part because of the presence of competing trade unions: the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

    The mine, about two hours northwest of Johannesburg, is operated by Lonmin, which is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and is the world's third-largest platinum producer. The bulk of its 28,000 employees work at the mine, and around 23% belong to the AMCU.

    South Africa miners demand resolution of grievances

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.