outh African police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters at a platinum mine where 45 people were killed over a deadly wage dispute that erupted at the beginning of August. Saturday's show of force followed a government threat to halt illegal protests and disarm strikers who have stopped work at one gold and six platinum mines northwest of Johannesburg. The strikes have destabilised South Africa's critical mining sector. It was the first police action since 34 miners were killed on August 16 when security forces opened fire at the Marikana mine. About 500 officers raided hostels at Lonmin PLC platinum mine before dawn and confiscated homemade machetes, spears, knives and clubs, police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Marikana, South Africa.