South Africa Reels as Mine Shooting Toll Hits 35

President Zuma 'shocked and dismayed' by violence
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2012 4:54 AM CDT
Death Toll Tops 35 in South Africa Miner Shooting
Striking mineworkers are caught in tear gas as police open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, yesterday.   (AP Photo)

The death toll has risen to more than 35 in yesterday's shooting of striking South African miners by police, which has become one of the deadliest confrontations since the end of apartheid, reports the Telegraph. The country's police minister says many others were injured and the toll is likely to rise. Another 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, died in related violence earlier in the week. As strikers marched on the mine 40 miles northwest of Johannesburg yesterday, police tried breaking up the march with water cannons, then stun grenades and tear gas, but opened fire when a group of machete-armed miners charged police lines.

The violence has shocked South Africa, with newspapers blaring headlines like "Bloodbath", "Killing Field," and "Mine Slaughter" and featuring graphic photos, reports Reuters. "It has happened in this country before where the apartheid regime treated black people like objects," wrote one newspaper in a front-page editorial. "It is continuing in a different guise now." Other critics blamed unions for the violence. South African President Jacob Zuma strongly condemned the violence, while avoiding direct criticism of the police. "We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence," said Zuma, adding that he was "shocked and dismayed at this senseless violence." (Read more South Africa stories.)

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