Rally to mark anniversary of Battle of Orgreave

Arthur Scargill in front of police lines at Orgreave
Arthur Scargill in front of police lines at Orgreave
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Campaigners are to hold a commemoration event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave later this month.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign will gather at the site, with speakers set to include Yorkshire National Union of Miners president Chris Skidmore.

The rally will take place on Thursday, June 18, from 5.30pm and comes as campaigners continue to wait for an announcement from the Independent Police Complaints Commission on whether they will be holding an inquiry into South Yorkshire Police in relation to the events of Orgreave.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of the OTJC, said the rally will ‘commemorate the events of the same day 31 years ago during the Miners’ Strike when 95 miners were arrested and charged with riot and unlawful assembly’.

Among those who will be speaking at the event will be Kevin Horne, one of the miners who was arrested at Orgreave, while the new Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh, is also due to be at the rally.

Also invited to attend are representatives of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Unite the Union.

Members of the public are also welcome to attend.

A decision on whether there will be an inquiry was made by the IPCC in January, but the body is yet to make the ruling public due to legal reasons.

It is believed a delay on the announcement is related to ensuring it does not prejudice the ongoing Hillsborough inquests, which also involve South Yorkshire Police.

In April, campaigners from OTJC rejected the opportunity for some members to be informed of the decision on the grounds they would have to sign ‘gagging orders’ preventing them informing others of what has been agreed.

An IPCC spokesman said today that the announcement will be made public as soon as possible.

He said: “The legal advice, on the basis of which we decided not to publish, remains under ongoing review.

“We will publish the decision as soon as we can.”

Ninety-five miners were arrested at Orgreave coking plant on June 18, 1984, after clashes with police during the national Miners’ Strike.

When the cases against the arrested miners came to court, all were abandoned when it became clear that evidence provided by police was unreliable.

Police later paid £425,000 in compensation to 39 pickets.