Socialist Worker

Orgreave and Rotherham 12 campaigns fight against injustices and lies

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2524

Abrar of the Rotherham 12 spoke at the conference

Abrar of the Rotherham 12 spoke at the conference (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Around 80 people gathered for a conference hosted by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign in Sheffield last Saturday.

The campaign is fighting for an inquiry into the 1984 Battle of Orgreave. Police attacked striking miners, then tried to frame them for riot.

Activists from various campaigns joined former miners. Jawed Siddiqi spoke about the Rotherham 12 campaign (see below).

He compared their fight for justice with that of miners. “I became a coordinator for collecting for the striking miners,” he said.

“If other unions had shown the same determination as the miners, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

Eileen Turnbull from the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign described the mainstream media’s failure to report on MPs’ decision to release documents relating to the Shrewsbury case.

The Shrewsbury 24 were striking building workers put on trial for conspiracy.

Eileen said, “It was such a momentous occasion and yet not one newspaper reported on it.”

Chris Skidmore, chair of the Yorkshire National Union of Mineworkers, said, “I’m sick of people who stand up for their rights being called ‘rent a mob’ and ‘bully boys’.”

Mark George QC said the trial of miners after Orgreave showed “wholesale collusion” that “went to the very top” of South Yorkshire Police.

Meanwhile a group of retired officers offered to give evidence against police in any inquiry into Orgreave.

The OTJC has appealed for supporters to send messages to Tory home secretary Amber Rudd to demand an inquiry.

Rotherham 12 to face trial

A trial of 12 men from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was set to start at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday.

The Asian men were arrested after an anti-fascist protest against Britain First in Rotherham last year.

They face charges including violent disorder.

The Rotherham 12 campaign was launched following the arrests to defend the men—and the right to protest.

Its slogan is “self defence is no offence”. Campaigners have called for people to show solidarity by rallying outside the court at 9am on Thursday and at 12 noon.

Abrar, one of the Rotherham 12, told a rally in Sheffield last Saturday, “This is about the oppression of the working class.”

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