chapter  5
RIOTS
Pages 4

I think it was 14 May, it was a sunny day and we went down to Mansfield and it was a lovely carnival atmosphere if you like, it was brilliant. The thing that got me, the television cameras were there, there were a few drinks and that and singing and that. Arthur Scargill come on. We were told to get back to the buses pretty early, cos the one driving the bus wanted to go. But the thing about it was that the camera started setting up when half the people had gone and we went walking up the road towards the bus and the bus had gone and we were sitting on a grass verge and then I seen something and I couldn’t believe it cos I’d had a few drinks and it was like watching one of these science fiction movies, like a dark cloud coming over the place. You just saw the police coming out of the streets from every . . . you hadn’t seen a policeman all day . . . on horseback, they were just getting anybody. It was pandemonium! And they were getting nearer and nearer to us and I thought, What’s going to happen? Some of us went running down the road to see what the trouble was and I went to speak to this copper to see what were happening. One of them got me against the wall, another policeman grabbed him and asked him what were happening, and he says, oh he’s all right this lad is. This copper went and stood with some of the women so they wouldn’t get hit because they were just going mad. I see policemen get on buses, pulling people off, knocking hell out of them with sticks. As I went down the road I kept ducking and diving out of the way. I see a young schoolgirl coming round the corner with a satchel over her shoulder and a horse went flying by and knocked her flat. I went to pick her up and got kicked on the shoulder as a policeman were running past hitting people. And as I got up near the crowd there was people chucking stones and that. I never felt so frightened or so angry in my life when I seen what I seen. You’ve got horses, then policemen, then people chucking bricks and from what I could

see in the middle of it, three or four, probably six policemen kicking hell out of a youth of probably 17 or 18. He managed to stagger to his feet and his face was covered in blood and that and one of them . . . it was like one of these African executions, he got his stick out about a yard long and whacked him across the face with it and the ambulance men was angry and was effing and blinding to the police and they had to put that young lad in an oxygen tank for about 20 minutes before they even moved him and I’ve never seen a sight like it. And I never thought I would pick up a brick in anger but that day I did. I was totally disgusted with what the police were doing. I’d heard things that they’d do. I’d seen one or two incidents on the picket line but never anything like that.