ORGREAVE ANNIVERSARY RALLY 2020
The OTJC held a fantastic online event on Saturday 20th June, to mark what was the 36th anninversary of the police riot at Orgreave on 18th June 1984. Before the event, we received many messages of support from trade unions, campaigns, individuals, and politicians including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, media publicity from the Morning Star, Sheffield Star, Yorkshire Live, Tribune, Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Live and Calendar, and our social media was almost in meltdown due to the volume of messages and soldarity.
The event itself featured inspirational and moving contributions from speakers from trade unions, Chris Kitchen: General Secretary of the NUM talked about how the Tories are trying to divide us and the importance of solidarity. Sal Young: NHS Worker and GMB Branch Secretary highlighted the horror of the governments mismanagement of the covid19 pandemic and the value of key workers. We also had speakers from justice campaigns, showing the links between the various injustices, and the struggles we all face against a government determined to block and frustrate truth and justice. What came across loud and clear was that we have so much in common, and that we are all stronger together. It was very poignant that it was the anniversary of Grenfell in the week before our event, with Windrush Day a couple of days after. We were honoured to have speakers Judy Bolton and Yvette Williams from Justice4Grenfell speaking and making the clear links between racism and working class injustice. Janet Alder spoke about her brother Christopher who was unlawfully killed in police custody and Jan Cunliffe from the grassroots campaign JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association) explained how the application of the law had been misinterpreted by the judiciary leading to thousands of possibly wrongful convictions. Lee Fowler: Blacklisting Support Group spoke about how Trade Union members were denied work over many years because of their union activities. Sheila Coleman: Hillsborough Justice Campaign made the links between Hillsborough and other justice campaigns highlighting the positive elements of working together. Eileen Turnbull: Shrewsbury 24 Campaign shared the positive news and importance of the recent referral of the convictions of the Shrewsbury pickets to the Court of Appeal.
Between the speeches, there was music from the PCS Samba Band, the Unite brass band, a short film about previous Orgreave events, and messages of support from Ian Lavery MP, Durham Miners Association Secretary Alan Mardghum and film maker Ken Loach. Musician Joe Solo also lent his valued support, with a wonderful online gig following later in the day.
We had thousands of supporters following the event online.
Here’s to the 2021 Rally being just as successful, when we hope to see so many of our supporters actually at Orgreave next year. Thousands would be fantastic!