Campaigners to stage rally to mark 35th anniversary of ‘Battle of Orgreave’

A rally will be held to call for an inquiry into policing during the miners’ strike 35 years since the so-called Battle of Orgreave.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 11:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 5:14 pm

Former miners arrested at the site of a coking plant in South Yorkshire on June 18, 1984 will be among those attending the rally on Orgreave Lane, Sheffield, on Saturday, June 15.

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

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Protesters at the march in 2018. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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.

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

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

Around 300 people took part in the march last year. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Speakers at the event will include Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades’ Union; Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers; Rotherham MP Sarah Champion as well as National Union of Mineworkers’ general secretary Chris Kitchen.

Kate Flannery, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said: “Everything is going really well and we have got everything organised.

“It has become quite a big annual event now. We are expecting between 300 and 500 people and with Orgreave being where it is that’s a lot of people.

“But it’s important to have the rally there because of what happened there.”

A twisted sign, felled concrete posts and a broken wall in Orgreave on June 18, 1984. Picture: PA Wire

The event will be compered by Chris Peace and Joe Rollin of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the rally, which will begin at 1pm, will be led by the Unite brass band.

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 disorders but their cases were dropped.

Police officers pushing against striking miners outside the Orgreave Coking Plant on June 6, 1984. Picture: PA Wire