South African authorities have released around 50 miners previously charged with murdering colleagues, who were in fact shot dead by police.
Some 270 miners were detained last month during a strike over pay at the Marikana platinum mine operated by Lonmin. The charges against them were brought under an apartheid-era law, but were dropped following a public outcry.
One of the released men explains that he did not break any laws. “What hurts me most is that I was arrested for nothing that I have done. I never damaged anything belonging to white people. Police were sent to shoot us while we were fighting for our rights”, he says.
A mother is confident that her son will soon be released as well. “I am happy for these guys but I am not yet because my son is not in these who are released today. But I have got a good hope”, she says.
Elsewhere, police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse striking miners at a gold mine near Johannesburg, as protests over labour conditions continue.
The Marikana strike is now entering its fourth week, with the miners asking for the equivalent of EUR 1,200 per month, more than double what they currently receive.
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