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Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- Rising tensions at a South African platinum mine exploded Thursday in grisly violence as police fired on striking miners.
Blood-stained bodies lay strewn about a field in a police response reminiscent of the days of apartheid.
Police have not released a death toll, but a South African Press Association reporter counted 18 corpses. It's feared more could be dead.
The police in post-apartheid South Africa have been accused of using deadly strong-arm tactics to suppress unrest before, but the action on Thursday surprised many South Africans and drew quick condemnation.
“Regardless of what police may argue about provocation, there is no possible justification for shooting into a crowd with rifles and handguns,” Frans Cronje of the South African Institute of Race Relations said on Twitter. Helen Zille, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, called the shootings a massacre.
After more than 12 hours of official silence, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed that at least 30 people had died in the security operation at the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.
Police opened fire with automatic weapons when 3,000 striking drill operators armed with machetes and sticks ignored orders to disperse.
I'm not convinced the incident can be judged simply by the clips, since they don't show the whole incident and what preceded the police reaction.