South African police blocked and dispersed a march by hundreds of striking miners against a security crackdown in the country's restive platinum belt. AFP reporters on the scene said workers dispersed peacefully after a row of armoured police trucks stopped them from marching to the police station in the northwest town of Rustenburg, a day after officers fired rubber bullets to break up a protest by miners in nearby Marikana.
"The police have blocked us. They are dispersing us. Now we are telling our people to go back to where we came from in order to avoid any conflict," Gaddhafi Mdoda, a workers' committee member at Anglo American Platinum said.
Workers were not carrying their usual protest gear of machetes, spears and sticks.
Hundreds of officers raided worker hostels yesterday and also used rubber bullets and tear gas, with clashes breaking out in a shantytown opposite the mine.
The marchers had planned to march today protesting against the use of force, exactly a month after police gunned down 34 protesters at Lonmin in the worst security violence since the fall of apartheid 18 years ago.
Rising strike tensions that have spilled over from Lonmin have spread around the region and forced shut-downs at several mines, including those of the world's top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum and number four producer Aquarius Platinum.
The government on Friday announced it would no longer tolerate the growing labour strife, saying it would act against illegal gatherings, weapons, incitement and threats of violence that have characterised the unrest.