Campaigners call for inquiry into Battle of Orgreave 33 years on

By Sam Cooper | 23/06/2017

Campaigners call for inquiry into Battle of Orgreave 33 years on

CAMPAIGNERS repeated their calls for a public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave at a noisy anniversary rally at the site of the clash.

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign members marched through the site of the former coke plant on Saturday - 33 years to the day since miners and police clashed.

Home affairs select committee chairman and former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (pictured below) was among the speakers and repeated her calls for files relating to the incident to be declassified and published.

Yvette Cooper gives a speech at the rally. Picture courtesy Hugh Jaeger.

Barbara Jackson, OTJC secretary, said: “It went really well. The weather was a replica of the day 33 years ago because that was a red hot day, too.

“We had some big name speakers including Frances O’Grady from the TUC, Mike Jackson, from the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ group,

Karen Reay, regional secretary of the union Unite, Eileen Turnbull of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and Craig Mansell, an ex-miner who was among those arrested at Orgreave.”

The rally began at the junction of Orgreave Lane and Highfield Lane before campaigners marched through the Waverley housing estate to Stephenson Way, where speeches were made.

A public inquiry into the clash between miners and police at Orgreave in 1984 was ruled out by home secretary Amber Rudd in October.

Mrs Rudd said changes in policing since the incident meant there would be “very few lessons to be learned”.

But Mrs Jackson (pictured below) said the close general election result offered the group “more than a glimmer of hope” that an inquiry would eventually be held.

Barbara Jackson giving a speech at the rally. Picture courtesy Hugh Jaeger.

“A public inquiry was in the Labour Party manifesto and so long as that manifesto stands we have hope,” she added.

“Things are very uncertain politically for the Tories. 

“They have got a massive amount of work to do and it’s hard to see how they are going to sustain themselves in power with the DUP.

“We still feel there is everything to play for.”

Heavy-handed policing was blamed by miners, although police claim they were defending themselves during the clash on June 17, 1984.

A total of 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave but their trials collapsed.

Despite claims of pickets being assaulted and compensation being paid to many, no police officer was ever disciplined.

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