Police fire tear gas as striking platinum miners protest

Some of the 12,000 miners sacked by Anglo American Platinum protest their dismissal in Rustenberg on October 6, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets as they clash with striking miners in Rustenberg
  • The protesters were barricading roads near the Anglo American Platinum mine, police say
  • South Africa's mining sector has seen a wave of wildcat strikes and clashes since August
  • Thousands of striking miners have been fired by gold and platinum mining firms

Police in Rustenberg, South Africa, clashed Tuesday with more than 1,000 striking miners who were barricading public roads near the Anglo American Platinum mine.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, and sporadic scuffles continue, Capt. Dennis Adrio with the North West police told CNN.

What's behind South Africa's mine violence?

Police and firefighters responded after a power substation on Anglo American Platinum's property was set on fire at 4 a.m., Adrio said.

Tuesday's clashes continued a wave of wildcat strikes and violent confrontations that has wracked the country's mining sector for more than two months, the worst labor unrest since the end of apartheid.

Anglo-American Platinum fired about 12,000 striking workers who refused to attend disciplinary hearings earlier this month after a three-week walkout.

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Another company, Gold Fields Limited, fired 8,100 striking workers last week after they did not return to work. Some 15,000 workers at the company's KDC East mine, near Johannesburg, had gone on strike to seek higher pay, as have workers at several other South Africa mines.

Read more: South African mine fires 1,400 striking workers

Repeated clashes have occurred since police opened fire on strikers Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in August, killing 34 workers and wounding dozens more.

South Africa's mining sector is the country's biggest industry.

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