'We will never stop fighting for answers' - Hundreds take part in march to mark 35th anniversary of the battle of Orgreave

Hundreds of people turned out to commemorate the 35th anniversary of a violent confrontation between striking miners and police, dubbed the Battle of Orgreave.

By Sarah Marshall
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 10:36
Hundreds of people marched through the site of the so-called Battle of Orgreave to commemorate the 35th anniversary of one of the most violent confrontations of the miners' strike

Around 500 supporters from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) marched through the site of the former coking plant on Saturday afternoon. 

Campaigners made their way along Orgreave Lane, led by the Unite brass band before hearing speeches from a number of supporters including Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades’ Union and Chris Kitchen, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers. 

Cllr Sophie Wilson spoke at the rally

Kate Flannery, OTJC secretary, said the turnout had been ‘incredible,’ and organisers were particularly ‘heartened’ to see so many young people participate in the march. 

“The level of support was very positive, and the atmosphere was great, but obviously it’s a very sad event,” said Kate. 

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, the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said there would be no independent inquiry or review into Orgreave, which saw some of the most violent controntations of the miners’ strike. 

March to mark the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave during the miners strike

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.

But Kate Flannery, OTJC secretary, said the group will never stop fighting for answers. 

“Some of the miners at Orgreave are elderly, and they want answers in their lifetime,” added Kate. 

Hundreds of people marched through the site of the so-called Battle of Orgreave to commemorate the 35th anniversary of one of the most violent confrontations of the miners' strike

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.

“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.” 

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 96 people were arrested but their cases were dropped.

March to mark the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave during the miners strike