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Case for inquiry into police violence at Orgreave stronger than ever, GMB general secretary says

THE case for a full independent inquiry into the notorious attack by police on striking miners at Orgreave is stronger than ever, GMB general secretary Tim Roache said today before today’s 34th anniversary.

He will be addressing an annual rally in Sheffield tomorrow afternoon.

Before the rally at 1pm, trade unionists and supporters will march to Orgreave Lane outside Rotherham in South Yorkshire, close to where the Orgreave coking plant was situated and where police charged and beat striking miners mercilessly in 1984.

The plant closed in 1990 and the site is now occupied by industry and housing.

Mr Roache is to speak at the rally along with shadow steel, postal services and consumer affairs minister Gill Furniss MP, Chris Williamson MP, Durham Miners Association president Joe Whitworth, spy cops campaigner Helen Steel, poet Matt Abbott and Kate Flannery of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

Mr Roache told the Morning Star: “In the last year, we have discovered that South Yorkshire Police holds over 800 files on Orgreave that were never reviewed by the Home Office or the IPCC.

“Police officers have admitted that statements were falsified.

“And we know more — far more than even the trade unions suspected at the time — about how Thatcher abused the power of state to crush the miners and deny the organised working class their most basic rights.”

He remembers Nottinghamshire being “under siege” with every road into the county blockaded and that people ran the risk of being arrested simply for travelling to a working pit. As a young trade union organiser, Mr Roache was stopped and searched on numerous occasions at the time.

“I suppose I looked like I might have been a miner and I was proud to wear the Coal not dole badge.

“Later, as an official in Yorkshire, I saw all too clearly the devastation that closures wrought on our pit communities.

“To all those who have fought all these years for the truth, to clear the names of the Orgreave picketers, for the self-respect and dignity the state tried to deny them, I pledge the absolute admiration and solidarity of my entire union.

“I promise GMB will keep up the pressure.

“We will not stop campaigning until that inquiry has been secured.”

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