Campaigners’ long battle to break wall of silence over Battle of Orgreave

The Battle of Orgreave

The Battle of Orgreave

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Two years on, there is silence.

Two years on from a request for an investigation into police behaviour at the Orgreave coking plant in the summer of 1984, there is no progress.

Orgreave protest in London

Orgreave protest in London

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Two years on from South Yorkshire Police’s own referral of the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, there is no decision.

To mark the anniversary members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign decided to make their voices heard.

Coaches of protesters travelled from Sheffield and Barnsley to stage a demonstration outside the London offices of the IPCC, later meeting with commission members.

They were joined by supporters from a variety of trade unions and political groups.

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Campaign secretary Barbara Jackson said it was time the truth was told about exactly what happened on June 18, 1984.

“We’re extremely disappointed at the length of time it has taken for the IPCC to come to a conclusion as to whether they will launch a full investigation those events,” she said.

“We’ve made that clear to the IPCC officials, including chair Dame Anne Owers.”

The fateful day saw 95 miners arrested after clashes with police, many in riot gear, some on horseback.

When the cases came to court - with many miners on riot charges facing custodial sentences - all were abandoned when it became clear that the oral and written evidence provided by the police was unreliable.

Each prosecution had been supported by two police officers making near-identical statements.

Later South Yorkshire Police paid out £425,000 in compensation to 39 pickets in out-of-court settlements.

The Orgreave campaign has attracted high profile support, including from Labour leader Ed Miliband.

He said: “There are many people from mining communities who have long suspected that senior ministers had a calculated plan to close several pits.

“What happened at Orgreave 30 years ago was a black day in South Yorkshire. If the Independent Police Complaints Commission can’t or won’t undertake a proper investigation, then government should consider initiating a swift, independent review.”

But until a decision is taken, the silence remains.

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