Campaigns - boycott to minute's silence
Since forming, as a proactive collection of Hillsborough families, survivors and supporters in Feb 1998, the Campaign has struggled to bring Hillsborough and the continued lack of justice back into the public domain on many occassions.
Many people are aware that all clubs now observe a minutes silence on 15th April following the group's letter campaign. In this section you can read on this and other successes the group has acheived, as well as ongoing activites.
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The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
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Tel / fax : 0151 2605262
Rally in Stanely Park
August 19th 2000 - This article written by Jmac from Red all Over the Land - perhaps the best Liverpool fan's website and discussion forum.
In response to the outrage at the outcome to the trial in Leeds regulars on our RAOTL forum asked if we (they) could get together and show our support for the Justice Campaign. Despite the trial result the forumites all thought we should fight on - or at least show our support should the HJC and the HFSG wish to continue in their campaigns. As those who expressed concern come from all over the UK (and the world!) it was felt we needed a central point of reference to co-ordinate the meeting. We handed this over to Sue at the HJC and she worked tirelessly to ensure that things eventually came to fruition.
In retrospect perhaps scheduling the event immediately prior to our first home game was a mistake. Publicity was always going to be a problem and the lack of matchdays in which we could leaflet supporters meant that the turnout was always going to be low. The local press didn't help and although they eventually did publicise the event they managed to get the time wrong (by an hour) and asked people to turn up at 1pm - just when the rally was scheduled to end. We did our best via the RAOTL forum and word of mouth and in the end about 200 turned up. (As speaker Ricky Tomlinson put it later: "We may be small in number but we're big in heart"). The unpredictable weather may also have helped keep the turnout down but it was good to see many of the RAOTL forum regulars there (too many to name check but Evo did turn up to speak).
Anyway, the venue was a small bandstand down by Priory Road opposite Anfield Crematorium. It had been decked out in Justice banners and a small stage and PA erected. The rally was held together by the HJC chairperson, Kevin Robinson. As luck would have it I was first up to speak and despite fumbling with my notes, the gusting wind and a hand held microphone my contribution - a short speech outlining why the forumites felt so angry - seemed to be well appreciated by all in attendance. Then forumite Peter Etherington - Evo - took the stage to deliver a moving poem describing his anger at the cover-up and the slurs on Liverpool fans (Click here link on the far left for Evo's account of the rally). Evo was followed by Peter Carney, a survivor of the Leppings Lane who came as close to dying that day as is possible. Peter re-iterated his pledge that we weren't going to go away and that we would all be fighting until Justice was eventually achieved.
Peter was followed by Anne Williams whose 15 year old son Kevin was killed at Hillsborough . Anne was contemptuous of the legal process (as we all are) and of the continuing insistence with the 3:15 cut-off. Anne KNOWS her son was alive at 4 o'clock but the authorities refuse to help her find out exactly when and how he died. For a bereaved parent this must be an awful situation to deal with and, 11 years on, Anne is still dealing with this every waking moment of her life.
John Glover was next to speak. When Kevin introduced John he told of the unfathomable grief that John and his family have had to endure. And yes, John is unquestionably grief stricken at his loss but he's also racked with pain over the others who died. Little John Paul Gilhooley for example who had blood taken from his body "to see if he had been drinking". John Paul Gilhooley was 10 years old. John said that rarely a day goes by that he doesn't think of this: "This no way on earth I'm going to let this Hillsborough thing go!", he said - to great applause from those assembled. John went on to explain how he'd been expelled from the HFSG for opposing Trevor Hick's insistence that they talk to The Sun. Even know I find it astonishing that Mr Hicks would contemplate talking to that rag, and even more astonishing that the HFSG would expel a bereaved family for opposing it. John attended every day of the trial in Leeds and was obviously disgusted at how the trial was conducted.
Kevin then introduced Sheila Coleman, one of the HJC's tireless campaigners, praising her for her contribution to the fight. Sheila is "no stranger to the legal process" (as she put it), and so has never been phazed by the law. She spoke of "the old lies coming out again in Leeds, being rubber-stamped by the system yet again." Sheila was contemptuous of the trial from the beginning and, like so many of us, was disgusted at the compromises that had to be made to get the case to court. Chief amongst these compromises was the apparent agreement between the HFSG and the court that "the two defendants would not lose their liberty if convicted" (page 6 of the transcript). Imagine that - Duckenfield and Murray were guaranteed NOT to go to prison if convicted on two counts of manslaughter. The HFSG's solicitor had informed the court that "the families were not seeking punishment of this kind." I wonder if he'd bothered to find out if Anne Williams or John Glover were seeking a punishment of that kind? I think not. Of course, this agreement was 'secret' and it is for this reason that the HFSG have taken legal action to close down the HJC website for this alleged 'libel'. As Sheila pointed out - "since when has the truth been libellous?". Sheila obviously finds it appalling that it's not SYP or SWFC or the FA, but "other bereaved families currently suing the HJC". She spoke of having to run around Liverpool in a taxi at midnight, the night before the 11th anniversary, trying to find a solicitor to take to the court in Leeds because she had been threatened with imprisonment - over the website - by agents acting on behalf of the HFSG. "That's obscene ..." she said, "they didn't even have the decency to phone us.". Sheila rounded off with the pledge that "we will remain truthful and honest to these families and victims".
Last of the guest speakers was Ricky Tomlinson, known to most of you for his tv roles in 'Brookside', 'Playing The Game' and the 'Royle Family'. Ricky was soon into his stride reminding us that it's never too late too fight for Justice. Even now almost 30 years after he was imprisoned in Shrewsbury for trade union activity he has just discovered evidence that proves he was 'stitched up' and that the prosecution had evidence that would have proved his innocence. There can be no questioning Ricky's Commitment to the cause - on the subject of 'The Sun' Ricky revealed that they recently offered him £40,000 for one day's work advertising that rag. "You know what I told them: "Fuck Off!", I said". The response was a huge roar from the attendees. Ricky then pointed the finger at Liverpool FC for their lack of help to the HJC, a point taken up by Kevin Robinson when he detailed that of all the clubs who've been asked for, and who have all sent, signed footballs to the HJC, the one omission is Liverpool Football Club. Some of you may remember the acrimonious shareholders meeting last season that I reported on in RAOTL when Peter Robinson's attitude to the very existence of the HJC was petty and offensive in the extreme. At the end of the rally a floral tribute was taken up to the memorial by the Shankly Gates and laid on the pavement. How many of those fans standing there paying their 'respects' actually knew of the existence of the Justice Campaign or even cared, is debatable.