SA mine clashes: Police 'forced to defend themselves'
Police had to use "maximum force to defend themselves" against striking miners, South African police have said.
National Polcie Commissioner Riah Phiyega said that police opened fire after failing to disperse strikers armed with clubs and machetes at the Marikana mine.
The Lonmin-owned platinum mine has been at the centre of a violent pay dispute, exacerbated by tensions between two rival trade unions.
The incident, which claimed 34 lives, is one of the bloodiest police operations since apartheid.