Iconic Photos

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Orgreave Riots

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The Battle of Orgreave is the name given to a confrontation between police and picketing miners at Orgreave, South Yorkshire, in June 1984. It was during the Miners’ Strike of 1984, when the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) staged 5,000 to 6,000 pickets across the UK. Orgreave strike started out like most others, with stone and coal throwing from the miners. Then, arguments started and then, arrests.

The most famous photograph of the day was that of a woman narrowly missing a baton strike. The photograph by John Harris who spent a year on the picket lines photographing key moments of the Miners Strikes was one of many such incidents caught on camera. Ironically, the subject of this iconic photograph was also a photographer, Lesley Boulton who was helping an injured miner. The photo would also gain notoriety in that only one of 17 national newspapers published the photograph, leading to allegations of bias against the miners.

Ninety-three arrests were made, with 51 picketers and 72 policemen injured. Ninety-five picketers were charged and tried in 1987, but the trials collapsed. In 1991, South Yorkshire police were forced to pay out half a million pounds to 39 miners who were arrested in the events at the Battle of Orgreave.

See: BBC report

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 25, 2009 at 10:26 pm

One Response

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  1. Do you mind removing the offensive title ‘Orgreave riots’. All miners were acquitted and it was proven that none of them rioted. A more appropriate title would be ‘Orgreave police riots’ I was present that day and there were around 30,000 miners or more. It is also extremely offensive to state that things began with miners throwing stones then police charging and go on to suggest this was always the case. This was not the case that day and neither was it for 99% of the strike.

    Vince McCullagh

    February 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm

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