Protesters gathered outside the Home Office during the Orgreave demonstration in London last year [Image: EPA].

Tomorrow marks a year since the Government’s decision to deny the request of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign for an inquiry into the events of the 1984 “Battle of Orgreave”. This was a historic betrayal of the cause of justice, making clear that, in the eyes of this Government, justice is not universal, blind and timeless, but partial, political and time-limited.

The full picture of what happened at Orgreave 33 years ago and its aftermath remains unclear, hidden by the passage of time and by a concerted effort to conceal the truth. Yet the violence of the police operation remains as shocking today as it was then. The images of mounted police, batons drawn, charging into the crowd and armoured, shield-wielding police officers beating men lying prone remain seared on the collective memory of coalfield communities.

All 15 of the pickets who would eventually stand trial, charged over the events at Orgreave, alleged that they had been the victims of serious assaults by police officers. Several had serious injuries and broken bones. The trial of those men later collapsed following clear evidence of witness tampering, altered and dictated statements and an apparently organised attempt to secure convictions for riot.

Yet the collapse of the trial did not challenge the narrative already established by the police.

The cause of justice is too important to sacrifice for political expediency. It may indeed be uncomfortable for the Government to challenge what many on the right of the Conservative Party have long held to be a sacred cow. But we deserve to know, fully and authoritatively, what happened 33 years ago in my constituency. The miners, their families and coalfield communities deserve the truth.

Source: The victims of Orgreave deserve justice and the truth – despite what the Government thinks

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