‘There was a riot. But it was a police riot.’
One of the most violent clashes in British industrial history. A pivotal event in the 1984-85 UK miners' strike. This was the Battle of Orgreave. On 18th June 1984, a violent confrontation between police and thousands of pickets broke out at a British Steel Corporation coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. The miners wanted to stop lorry loads of coke leaving for the steelworks. They thought that would help them win their strike, and help protect their jobs. The police were determined to hold them back.
TV viewers were shocked by the images of the battle. The police presence was unprecedented: the use of dogs and horses, the riot gear, the armoured police vehicles. Many miners felt the operation was being run under government control, and the encounter destroyed many mining communities’ faith in the police, a legacy that lasts to this day.
The debate goes on about who acted first. In 2012, the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign was formed to campaign for a public inquiry into the policing of events at Orgreave following revelations about corruption in South Yorkshire Police. However, in October 2016 the Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that there would be no statutory inquiry or independent review.
At a time when news of police brutality all over the world is increasingly common, it is crucial to have accountability. For this reason, with every tea towel sold we will donate £1 to the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign: otjc.org.uk