Saturday, 14 June 2014

30th Anniversary of the Battle for Orgreave

Today I remember the 30th anniversary  of one of the 20th Century's most brutal attacks by the state on its own citizens.The Battle of Orgreave, during the1984 Miners strike,which resulted in an all out military operation by Margeret Thatcher's Conservative cabinet.
On June 18th  1984, 6 to 7,000  miners and supporters gathered  to picket Orgreave  cokeworks  near Rotheram in South Yorkshire.
Police directed  pickets to an area of land which left them  hemmed in on three sides.Before this event the miners had been stoically out on strike for about 12 weeks, during which they had  been assaulted on picket lines, with individuals being handcuffed and beaten without  any cause or provocation.
At Orgreave  the miners after being herded together. were savagely attacked by Police cavalry  in full riot gear under the jurisdiction of Thatcher's Government attacking fleeing miners  with long swaying batons as Miners ran for safety. It saw the police  going berserk under state orders, repeatedly  attacking  individuals  wherever they sought refuge,  as they fled into a nearby Wheatfield and into the community of Orgreave, where the police  carried on their pursuit through the streets. A scene of ugliness, fear and menace, as  all concepts of Law and order that  the constabulary  were supposed to withhold abandoned all its basic principles.

At the end  the day  over 100 people were arrested, for no crime whatever, with many  more being injured along with  the Miners leader Arthur Scargill. Following Orgreave, the police  conducted a deliberate  and co-ordinated  attempt to frame arrested miners  for one of the most serious events  on the statute book - the offence of Riot. No police officer has ever been prosecuted or even disciplined for their role in the terrible events that occurred.

Today all the victims  of this bloody confrontation,are simply asking for an apology for the actions taken out against them. We should never forget, today  people will be honouring them at the Orgreave Mass Picnic & Festival taking place at  Catcliffe Recreation Ground.
The  miners 1984 was one of the longest and most brutal in British labour history. A community fighting for jobs and survival was wholly denigrated and depicted as violent by the majority of the media. The above film THE BATTLE FOR ORGREAVE puts the record straight, as miners recount their own history, their economic and political struggle over decades and the trial they endured for 48 days in Sheffield when charged with riot at Orgreave - facing life imprisonment.
Containing compelling testimonies, emotive cinematography, in depth analysis coupled with meticulous detail of the mass picket and the ensuing events of June 18 1984 at the Orgreave coking plant, the documentary also has unique footage of police violence - all these make this an historic and important document of our time.
See the film at the British Film Institute.
or purchase from journeyman Pictures at
30 years later  many still seek some form of justice.

For  further details of the Orgreave Peace and Justice Campaign

I refer you to this excellent site

An earlier post on the 30th anniversary of the Miners Strike can be found here

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