At least 30 people were killed when police clashed with striking miners at South Africa’s Marikana mine on Thursday, the police minister has said.
According to witnesses, police opened fire on strikers armed mostly with clubs and machetes.
The Lonmin-owned platinum mine has been at the centre of a violent pay dispute, exacerbated by tensions between two rival trade unions.
Violence during the strike had already killed 10 people.
Speaking to local radio, police minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed the death toll, adding: “A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up.”
The incident is one of the bloodiest police operations since the end of the apartheid in South Africa.
Police were sent to intervene after several thousand miners gathered at Marikana, which lies about 100 km (62 miles) north-west of Johannesburg, to call for a pay rise of more than $1,000 (£636) a month.