Campaigners step up calls for Battle of Orgreave inquiry
Miners arrested at the time were among a couple of hundred people who gathered for a rally at Orgreave, between Rotherham and Sheffield.
Campaigners calling for an inquiry into the actions of police during the so-called Battle of Orgreave in 1984 have said they are stepping up their fight, despite having little confidence in new Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The calls for an official re-examination of the policing during the clashes with pickets during the miners’ strike were made again on Saturday at a rally to mark the 34th anniversary of the violence at the coking plant in South Yorkshire on June 18 1984.
Miners arrested at the time were among a couple of hundred people who gathered for a rally at Orgreave, between Rotherham and Sheffield, close where the violence broke out.
They then marched past the location of the plant – now a housing estate and barely recognisable as the scene as the 1984 clashes.
Campaigners have been calling for an inquiry into the police tactics on that day, claiming that striking miners were assaulted and falsely arrested.
In October 2016, then 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.
Chris Peace, from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) told the marchers Mr Javid was the third home secretary since the campaign started.
She said: “The optimism we have about Savid Javid is not good.
“He was no friend of our comrades in the steel unions when had that brief, and he failed to even think about an industrial strategy to rebuild the country.”
Ms Peace read a message to the crowds from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which said: “The brutality of Orgreave will not be forgotten.
“Diane Abbott – our shadow home secretary – and myself as leader want to make it absolutely clear that a Labour government will hold an inquiry into Orgreave so the truth and justice will come out.”
Craig Mansell, a miner arrested at Orgreave, said: “Ex-home secretary Amber Rudd had an opportunity to authorise an inquiry and chose not to.
“The new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, should now have the decency to acknowledge Amber Rudd’s miscalculation and implement an inquiry that is well overdue.”
Chris Hockney, who chairs the OTJC, said: “Striking miners were brutalised by the police all over Britain.
“The announcement in the Scottish Parliament gives us real hope that an inquiry will be conducted into police brutality at Orgreave and the miners and our communities will get justice.
“The Labour Party is committed to implementing an inquiry and has clearly stated in their manifesto their intention to hold a public inquiry into policing practices at Orgreave.”
Thousands of pickets and police officers clashed at Orgreave in some of the most violent confrontations in the year-long miners’ strike.
A total of 95 people were charged with riot and violent disorder but their cases were dropped.