18/05/2014 18:58 BST | Updated 18/05/2014 19:59 BST

Turkish Mining Disaster: Arrests Made As Death Toll Passes 300

A soccer scarf of Turkish soccer club Besiktas lays on the grave of a mine accident victim in Soma, Turkey, Friday, May 16, 2014, four days after an underground blaze at its coal mine in western Turkey killed 301. The Turkish word on the scarf reads: "Sacrifice."

A total of 24 people have been arrested over the worst mining disaster in Turkey's history, in which more than 300 people are now confirmed to have died.

The final death toll of the explosion at the mine in the town of Soma on Tuesday has been confirmed as 301, after the last bodies were recovered on Saturday.

The disaster had prompted anger at the Turkish government.

Earlier this week, violent anti-government protests broke out in Soma and viral photos have emerged of what appears to be an aide to the Prime Minister kicking a demonstrator.

Among those arrested on Sunday were the mine's general manager and the operations manager Akin Celik, the BBC reported.

Muzaffer Yildirim, a miner whose brother died in Tuesday's incident, told the broadcaster that its managers were responsible for what happened and "should be punished".

A total of 787 miners were underground when the explosion happened. Oxygen was pumped into the mine to save those trapped who were at risk of breathing in poisonous carbon monoxide.

The death toll makes it the country's worst mining disaster, supplanting a 1992 incident, when a gas explosion killed 270 workers near the port town of Zonguldak.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was heckled during a speech about the disaster, with cries of "Murderer". Chased by protesters, he was forced to seek refuge in a nearby supermarket.

He had incited particular fury when he suggested Turkey was not alone in allowing mining disasters to occur.

"Explosions like this in these mines happen all the time. It's not like these don't happen elsewhere in the world," he said, listing all mining accidents worldwide since 1862.