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South African police "forced" to defend themselves: police chief

Friday, August 17, 2012 - 01:32

Aug. 17 - The South Africa police chief says police were forced to ''defend themselves'' after the shootout at a miners strike that left at least 34 dead. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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South Africa's police chief is calling it a sad day for the country. On Thursday, at least 34 people were killed and 78 injured when police gunned down a group of striking miners. It was South Africa's worst violence of the post Apartheid era. National Police commissioner Riah Phiyega defended her forces. (SOUNDBITE)(English) NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSIONER RIAH PHIYEGA, SAYING: "The militant group stormed towards the police firing shots and wielding dangerous weapons. Police retreated systematically and were forced to utilized maxim force to defend themselves. The total deaths of the protesters currently stands at 34 with more than 78 injured." The President of Association of Mines Workers and Construction Union Joseph Mathunjwa compared the shootout to an attack to the 1960s when more than 50 people were killed when apartheid police opened fire on protesters (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF ASSOCIATION OF MINES WORKERS AND CONSTRUCTION UNION JOSEPH MATHUNJWA, SAYING: "I thought that the history that I read about Sharpville massacre was a history I never thought that in 2012 we will experience the same massacre under the democratic elected government by our selves this is the shame." On Friday, the wives and daughters of the miners staged their own protests, calling on the police to bring back the dead.

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South African police "forced" to defend themselves: police chief

Friday, August 17, 2012 - 01:32