Monday, 2 June 2014

Orgreave mass picnic and festival on June 14 - press release

Secretary Barbara Jackson 0114 2509510 
———————————————————————————————————— Press release - immediate

ORGREAVE mass picnic and festival
Saturday 14 June
11.00am – 7.00pm
Admission free
Catcliffe Recreation Ground, Poplar Way, Catcliffe S60 5TZ

A celebration of struggle and resistance on the 30th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT MINERS’ STRIKE

Pleasure will replace pain. Truth will replace terror. Hope will replace horror. But the fight against injustice will go on.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) is delighted to announce that we are holding an all-day picnic and festival on 14 June 2014 at Orgreave; location of state-backed police terror thirty years ago during the year-long miners’ strike.

Those who are attending will include many former miners who were present on the 18th of June 1984 when 95 strikers were arrested after thousands of police officers – many in riot gear with others on horseback – brutally assaulted miners fighting to protect jobs and ensure a future for mining communities.

Unreliable oral and written evidence by the police subsequently meant all charges – which included, in numerous cases, riot, carrying the possibility of life sentences – were dropped.

Compensation was even paid to 39 pickets in out of court settlements but no police officers were disciplined or charged for the offences they committed which included assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.

Growing concern that South Yorkshire Police (SYP) Force and its officers, many now retired, have still to account for their actions at Orgreave led to the SYP referring itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in November 2012.

Following a scoping exercise the IPCC has promised to announce in the near future whether they will move forward to conduct a full investigation. Whatever decision is taken by the IPCC will be noted with interest by the OTJC. Either will not deflect us from continuing our growing campaign for a full public inquiry which we are confident will lead to a paper trail showing how the actions of the police at Orgreave were influenced by political pressure from within the highest ranks of the Government of the day.

The picnic and festival, organised in association with the Justice for Mineworkers' Campaign, has only been made possible because of significant financial support from the labour and trade union movement at local and national level. The day will help re-affirm the OTJC fight for justice and there will be a range of speakers at the beginning including Mike Mansfield QC, who represented a number of those arrested at Orgreave. Later; Sheila Coleman of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign will be joined on stage by Arthur Critchlow; a victim of police brutality thirty years ago who successfully fought off riot charges. In honour of his support, there will be a tribute to Bob Crow, the dearly departed RMT leader.

There is also going to be a chance to party. A range of artists, whose commitment is a constant source of inspiration and at the heart of all our hopes and dreams, have agreed to appear on two stages. They include Three Faction, Omar Puente & Friends, Western Promise and The Hurriers.

Compere will be Attila the Stockbroker.

Other attractions include a children’s play area, bouncy castle and art workshops, exhibitions that include a photographic display of NUM photographer Martin Jenkinson’s work in 1984-85, stalls, refreshments and a beer tent.

For more details contact Barbara Jackson on 0114 2509510

Additional comments from speakers. 

“I am delighted to be speaking at the event on 14 June 2014, The heroic miners and their leaders in 1984 were amongst the first to expose the democratic bankruptcy of our Parliamentary system. Corruption, vested interest and undercover surveillance have all now been revealed as the tools of the political trade.”

Michael Mansfield

Striking miners from 84/85, Orgreave Veterans, Women Against Pit Closures (WAPC), 84/85 Strike Babies and miners' supporters from the wider community will join together to hold a Mass Picnic which will celebrate the continuing solidarity of those who fought long and hard to resist the most vicious government attacks on their union and their class. Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Great Miners' Strike, the picnic and festival will be a day to renew our determination to carry on the fight for justice.

Bridget Bell, OTJC and APC

"I am going to the picnic to see lots of comrades who are attending. It is important to mark a massive event that took place in the miners' strike, which shouldn't be forgotten in union history.”

Arthur Critchlow, Orgreave veteran 

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