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Former miners have shared their harrowing memories of the Battle of Orgreave, as today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most brutal clashes between striking miners and police.

Tensions came to a head after Arthur Scargill, then President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) called for a mass picket at the former coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire, which is now home to thousands living on a newly built estate.

The NUM believed if thousands of miners, who were striking against pit closures, could prevent lorries carrying coke from the plant, the Government would be forced to negotiate.

On June 18, 1984, the picketers were met at Orgreave by around 6,000 police officers, some with dogs, riot shields and batons and others on horseback.

More than 100 people were injured after mounted police officers charged at the miners. Some 95 miners were arrested and charged with riot and unlawful assembly, but their trials collapsed amid claims of police misconduct and perjury by officers.

Former South Yorkshire Miner David Turton is still haunted by that day and spoke to GB News at the site of the Battle of Orgreave.

"They all came over the bridge, which is down there, just like lambs to the slaughter, for the want of a phrase, and there were 6,000 police and 40 odd mounted police and police dogs, so they weren't playing, they meant business," he said.

"What happened was meant and planned and it was so sad. It was in Scargill's backyard and as you would expect, Scargill turned up and he got arrested.

"When Maggie [Thatcher] said 'they are trying to replace the rule of the law with the rule of the mob' nothing could have been further from the truth.

"Them 95 who went to court for riot, I don't think they had ever been into a police station before in their life and they were a 'mob', ridiculous."

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At Renishaw Miners Club in South Yorkshire, the memories of that violent day still live on.

George Bingham, Former Yorkshire Miner told GB News: "I was there at Orgreave, I saw innocent people getting trampled on with horses, older than me, who couldn't run and get out of the way of things, people getting battered.

"I still get flashbacks of that now, Orgreave, it takes a lot to get over something like that. Just people out innocently picketing with T-shirts and getting absolutely hammered."

Pauline Tindall, South Yorkshire Miner's Widow added: "My husband was there that day. They'd no weapons on them whatsoever, absolutely nothing, they'd just gone down there to protest about their jobs.

"They [police] had been expecting them, they were in force. It was meant to be violent that day, it was Thatcher's way of proving who she was."

Chris Turton, Former South Yorkshire Miner added: "You'd have thought people would have forgotten about it after 40 years, but not in these kinds of villages, you don't forget."

For the former miners and their families in the community, it's important to remember this anniversary.

"It's 40 years and I think back on how many of the men aren't here anymore," said David Turton, Former South Yorkshire Miner.

"If there was a public inquiry now, the men who deserved it, the majority of them would have passed away by now.

"This was a strike to end all strikes. There will never ever be another one like it, so it's worth remembering.

"I'd like to be here on the 50th anniversary, but I don't think I will, but I'd like to be."

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said it would not be appropriate for the force of today to seek to explain or defend the actions of the force in 1984, as everyone involved in policing the miners’ strike has long since retired and the information the police hold has not been properly assessed.

The force added: "We have been very clear about our intent to make as much of the relevant documentation as is possible available to the public.

"To that end, a small team, funded by the then Police and Crime Commissioner, is reviewing and cataloguing all of the material held by the force and ensuring anything released is done so in line with the requirements of GDPR. There are 1,474 files of material which amount to 82,913 pages.

"When this work is complete, we will seek to follow the process undertaken by both the Home Office and the Cabinet Office, and place the documents in a recognised public archive. This is expected to take up to another eighteen months to two years."

At the weekend, former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leader Arthur Scargill was among about 400 people from across the country at the annual Orgreave rally in Sheffield.

The rally, organised by Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, happened just days after Labour promised in its general election manifesto to support a full investigation into the Battle of Orgreave.

The Liberal Democrats, Reform UK and the Green Party have also added that they support an inquiry in principle into events at Orgreave.

In 2016, the Conservative government rejected calls for an inquiry, which the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd said would not be in the "public interest".

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