Rally to mark 34th anniversary of ‘Battle of Orgreave’ in miners’ strike

Rally to mark 34th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ (PA Archive/PA Images) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Calls for an inquiry into policing during violent clashes with pickets during the miners’ strike will be stepped up on Saturday at a rally to mark the 34th anniversary of the so-called Battle of Orgreave.

Miners arrested at the site of a coking plant in South Yorkshire on June 18 1984 will be among those attending the rally near Rotherham in Sheffield.

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

In October 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.

Craig Mansell, a miner arrested at Orgreave, said: “Ex-home secretary Amber Rudd had an opportunity to authorise an inquiry and chose not to.

“The new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, should now have the decency to acknowledge Amber Rudd’s miscalculation and implement an inquiry that is well overdue.”

Chris Hockney, who chairs the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC), said: “Striking miners were brutalised by the police all over Britain.

“The announcement in the Scottish Parliament gives us real hope that an inquiry will be conducted into police brutality at Orgreave and the miners and our communities will get justice.

“The Labour Party is committed to implementing an inquiry and has clearly stated in their manifesto their intention to hold a public inquiry into policing practices at Orgreave.”

Joe Rollin, of the OTJC, said: “It will be an emotional day for the miners who were arrested at Orgreave but we are determined to keep the campaign in the spotlight. We will not go away.”

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.