|The News Line: Feature
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Orgreave was a planned attack on the miners
‘I WAS ARRESTED on that day at Orgreave. It was a really terrible day. There were thousands and thousands of police, I was walking down with a bloke who was an ex-soldier, and he swore blind that they were soldiers.’
|Banner commemorating the June 18th 1984 state attack on striking miners at Orgreave
Kevin Horne, from Barnburgh Colliery, was talking to News Line at the 500-strong rally outside the Home Office in Whitehall on Monday afternoon. The rally was called by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to step up the fight for a public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave of June 18th 1984.
Horne continued: ‘There were five or six thousand police just in reserve. I was arrested at 8am and I shared a cell with a lad. They took us out in the afternoon to take us to the magistrates court in Rotherham and when I came out I saw all the cells covered in blood and urine. I never got to Rotherham, I was put in a quadrangle and all the lads were lying about with broken limbs, one had a broken skull. We were trying to bandage people up with our t-shirts.’
Chris Kitchen, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, told News Line: ‘We’re here to let Amber Rudd (Home Secretary) know we’re not going away. We want the truth about what happened during the strike. We all know what happened, but we want the truth of who planned it, and that’s all she can be protecting now.
‘The Battle of Orgreave was a set up. We turned up for a normal picket line expecting to play cat and mouse to get there. But at Orgreave they were inviting us in, telling us where to park. And the amount of police that were there, the amount of cavalry, basically it was a bloodbath.
‘Number 10 planned it to be their version of Saltley Gate, when we had a victory in keeping out the scabs. There were snatch squads, mounted police and the dog unit up the sides so we couldn’t run into the fields, 95 men were arrested and a lot more were injured, some seriously.
‘The TUC is supporting us in demanding a public inquiry into what happened. I was 17-years-old in 1984, on strike at Welldale Colliery in Castleford. We were very strong there.’
Paul Darlow, from Woolley Colliery said: ‘I was at Orgreave for two weeks. It was a riot, a police riot, it was all planned. We want justice, stop hiding behind the lies. Thatcher devised this a long time back. There should have been a general strike then and there should definitely be one now – a mobilisation of the entire working class. I was 19 then and a strong picket. We have to kick the Tories out for good.’
Brian Corbett, rail union Aslef Western Region officer, said: ‘We’re here with our banner to support the miners as we did during the strike. We never moved coal during the strike and that was the case with every Aslef member.’
John Fairham, Woolley Colliery, Barnsley, said: ‘We want the truth. ‘Thatcher planned the Battle of Orgreave with McGregor. It was soldiers dressed in police uniforms.’
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot told News Line: ‘I’m here to support the call for an inquiry.
‘It’s obvious the police were following instructions from the Tory government and that’s why they won’t hold an inquiry.
‘Amber Rudd promised an inquiry and she broke that promise.’ Abbot told the rally: ‘I’m here to bring greetings and support from the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. We promise a full public inquiry. We will not rest.’
Dave Bentley, from Woolley Colliery, said: ‘It was terrible, when the police were charging, chasing us all over the place. They were hitting out, running people down. We were all in t-shirts. The TUC should have called a general strike and we need one now.’
Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, told the rally: ‘The link between Orgreave and Hillsborough is that it was the same South Yorkshire police force. The police at Orgreave acted with impunity, at Hillsborough they killed 96 people. It goes to the heart of the corruption of this society. The reason it’s so important to gain justice is that we must stand together to ensure it doesn’t happen again.’
Carrying the Justice for Shrewsbury banner, Pete Farrell said: ‘Shrewsbury and Orgreave involve pretty much the same thing. In 1973 they couldn’t use the Industrial Relations Act against the Shrewsbury pickets because they had been defeated by the Pentonville dockers in 1972, so they used the conspiracy laws.
‘But it was a state conspiracy, just like at Orgreave. It was peaceful picketing at Shrewsbury but two men were jailed for two and three years and it killed Des Warren.’
Nicky Wilson, from Longannet Complex, comprising four different collieries, told News Line: ‘We sent two buses to Orgreave. We had one man arrested and many injured. They were chased through the streets and gardens. It was an attack on the whole trade union movement, so there should have been a general strike. I fully support what the RMT and Aslef are doing today in fighting for their jobs.’
Kate Flannery, from Women Against Pit Closures from Sheffield, said: ‘Orgreave was a vicious crime against workers. Police state violence against miners fighting for their jobs.
‘I’m on the executive of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and we demand a public inquiry. Rudd indicated that there would be an inquiry and then custard-pied us.’
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