Last updated at 12:08

South African miners charged with murder of co-workers

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Find out why the miners have been charged

Workers at a mine in South Africa have been charged with the murder of their colleagues, even though they were shot by police.

Thirty-four miners died after police opened fire when a strike turned violent earlier this month.

State prosecutors have used a law called 'common purpose' to charge the 270 workers.

But it's caused outrage and the country's justice minister has asked for an explanation.

Police arrest miners in South AfricaReuters
Police arresting the miners in South Africa

The shooting is the most deadly police action since 1994 - when South Africa became a democracy.

Police said they were acting in self defence.

Under the common purpose law, it means the 270 miners can still be charged because they threatened police, even though they didn't kill their co-workers.

The law was used during the apartheid era, to stop black people from protesting against the white ruling minority.

Between 1948-1994, apartheid kept black and white people separate in the country and caused loads of clashes with the police.