OVER 700 trade unionists, former miners and determined supporters, demonstrated on Saturday in Sheffield to back the Orgreave Justice Campaign’s call for a full official inquiry into the police attack on thousands of striking miners at the Orgreave site 32 years ago.
The large turnout followed this year’s court finding that the same South Yorkshire police force was to blame for the deaths of 65 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough four years afterwards.
Before the march Yorkshire NUM president Chris Skidmore told demonstrators: ‘This is a reminder to the general public and of course the home secretary: “We’re still here”. We want to know why we were treated like that at Orgreave. Who organised it? Who gave them carte blanche to do what they did?
‘And will police ever be investigating the deaths of David Jones and Joe Green on picket lines during that strike? I don’t think so. In fact it’s clear that we won’t know the full truth about what happened at Hillsborough until we have the truth about Orgreave.’
After the march passed the site of the former coking plant, where thousands had assembled all those years ago, a Campaign spokesman read out a message to marchers from Gareth Peirce, the solicitor now involved in the case. The Hillsborough verdict had ‘opened the door a hundred times wider’ to an inquiry into Orgreave, said Peirce, and into what had been ‘collusion on an industrial scale’.
Recalling the fact that the case against all accused miners at Orgreave had completely collapsed in court in 1986, her statement added: ‘Justice has finally caught up with the South Yorkshire Police. The home secretary must order an inquiry. At Orgreave too, there was the deliberate construction of a false narrative.’
Other speakers included Margaret Aspinall from the Hillsborough campaign and NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen. The many trade union banners present included South Yorkshire Unite, CWU South Yorks, NUT Sheffield, NUT Rotherham, Derby Unite, CWU Midlands No7, Shrewsbury 24 campaign, Sunderland TUC, Durham Miners, and Justice for the 96.