Protest march to be held to mark 35th anniversary of Battle of Orgreave

Campaigners will mark the 35 years since the Battle of Orgreave with a protest march this weekend.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 7:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 3:18 pm

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.

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.

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Police officers clash with striking miners at Orgreave. Picture: PA

“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.”

Kate Flannery, OTJC secretary, said the group will ‘carry on fighting for truth and justice’.

She added: “The government has turned down our call for a public inquiry and has rejected a request from the Bishop of Sheffield to set up an Orgreave Independent Panel. We will carry on fighting for truth and justice.

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

“When the state has brutally attacked ordinary people, those in power have always covered up the truth as they did at Peterloo 200 years ago and have done many times since. We will ensure that the truth will come out about Orgreave.”

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.

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

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.

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

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

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