Battle of Orgreave
The coking plant at Orgreave near Sheffield, vital to the steel industry, was seen in 1984 by both sides in the miners’ dispute as a metaphorical battleground decisive in the course of the strike. On June 18 1984 it became a real battleground as around 6000 police officers and 5000 pickets clashed violently.
There had already been violence at the plant, notably on May 29 when 81 strikers and supporters were arrested, and 69 people – police and protesters – injured. On June 18, however, matters really came to a head. Police tactics changed from defensive to aggressive: squads armed with small shields and batons targeted pockets of miners; several charges by mounted officers were ordered by the police commander; and not content with driving the protesters from the plant, some policemen chased them into the nearby village.
Walking a mile in someone else’s police boots it must be said that missile throwing by pickets provoked the officers; they were taunted by miners; and more police officers than strikers are numbered in the official figures of injured – though many pickets probably avoided drawing attention to themselves, fearing sanctions; but the brutality of the reaction was something that the police force cannot be proud to look back on. Later cases against arrested pickets collapsed; and South Yorkshire Police ended up paying compensation to 39 of them.
Arthur Scargill , whose tactics in the strike some may find hard to understand, had the courage to stand with his men at Orgreave, where he was one of the injured. And his predictions about the future of the coal industry under Ian MacGregor, perhaps the Beeching of the 80s, were to prove correct.
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From carl on 28th December 2012
i was a picket and there is some trougth out there but not the real trought