RUSTENBURG, South Africa – South African police halted a peaceful march by striking miners without violence Sunday, a day after firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse illegal protesters.

Officers barricaded a main road into Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, and persuaded about 500 miners that their march was illegal and that they should go home.

Sunday’s protesters from Anglo American Platinum mines wanted to march to Rustenburg police station to demand an end to the violence against strikers. Some carried sticks, but there were none of the machetes, spears and clubs that have marked previous protests for higher wages.

On Saturday, police raided hostels at Lonmin platinum mine and collected homemade weapons. They fired rubber bullets and tear gas to force people into their homes.

It was the first police action since officers killed 34 miners Aug. 16 in state violence that shocked the nation.

The strikes have shut down one gold and six platinum mines, destabilizing the country’s critical mining sector.

Saturday’s show of force followed a government vow to halt illegal protests and disarm strikers.

Gwede Mantashe, the secretary-general of the governing African National Congress party, Sunday complained that “mining remains the bedrock of the South African economy, and yet the abject poverty and squalor surrounding mining areas remains a matter of deep concern.”