Rally to be staged in Sheffield today to mark 35 years since the Battle of Orgreave

Campaigners are set to mark the 35th anniversary of the so-called Battle of Orgreave later today.

By Sarah Marshall
Saturday, 15th June 2019, 11:37 am
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 2:55 pm
Campaigners will mark the 35 years since the Battle of Orgreave with a protest march today
Campaigners will mark the 35 years since the Battle of Orgreave with a protest march today

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) will hold its annual rally on the site of the former coking plant on Saturday, June 15, from 1pm.

There will be a protest march along Orgreave Lane, led by the Unite brass band before speeches from a number of supports including Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades’ Union; Chris Kitchen, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, and Rotherham MP Sarah Champion.

Kate Flannery, OTJC secretary, said the group is still seeking answers to who 'ordered the violence’.

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A total of 96 people were arrested at Orgreave. Picture: PA

“Some of the people wanting justice are getting quite elderly and want this dealt with in their lifetime,” said Kate.

She added: “This isn't a trip down memory lane for us. We’ve never had answers and we need them.

“It’s also affected things today. People aren’t as prepared to take industrial action any more, I know they still do, but people feel anxious and nervous about what’s going to happen.

“Striking miners wearing jeans and t-shirts were there to protect their jobs and communities, and violence from police officers in full riot gear was carried out against them. We can never forget it.”

Campaigners at last year's rally. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

Kevin Horne, OTJC activist and miner who was arrested at Orgreave, said: “Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, should have the decency to acknowledge previous Home Secretary Amber Rudd's miscalculation and now commission an inquiry into police brutality at Orgreave.

“The truth will eventually come out and trying to conceal the facts clearly highlights that only a government with something to hide would prevent an inquiry.”

Campaigners have been calling for an inquiry into the police tactics on that day, claiming that striking miners were assaulted and falsely arrested.

In 2016, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced there would be no inquiry or independent review, but the campaign has continued, buoyed by a decision by the Scottish Government to hold an independent review into the impact of policing during the miners' strike in Scotland.

File photo dated 01/06/1984 of police officers pushing against striking miners outside the Orgreave Coking Plant

And in March the government rejected an offer to set up an independent panel to review documents relating to the incident.

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The Home Office said its decision was made in light of changes to policing over the last 30 years.

Thousands of pickets and police officers clashed at Orgreave in some of the most violent confrontations in the year-long miners' strike.

Protesters at last year's rally. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

A total of 96 people were arrested but their cases were dropped.