ABOUT 200 people, including former miners, marched their way into a Brynmawr cinema tonight ahead of the premiere of a new film marking 30 years since the Miners’ Strike.
The Welsh premiere of 'Still the Enemy Within', a documentary by Peter Watkins-Hughes, was held at Brynmawr’s Market Hall Cinema.
The film shows the impact of the 1984-5 strike, 30 years on, from the point of view of the miners who went to battle with the government.
Speaking before the film, former National Union of Mineworkers’ branch secretary Tyrone O’Sullivan said: “We lost the strike but there were reasons why we should’ve won it.
“We wouldn’t have had the tragedy or the unemployment in the Valleys if we had won.
“There are lessons to be learnt from the strike - you need to stand up for yourself and fight back, do the best you can.
“Pick any town, any village, you name it, we went through a period of 10 years where kids were leaving school at 16 and couldn’t find a job for two years. After 15 years, eight out of 10 kids weren’t finding work after two years. It’s a tragedy.
“I don’t regret the battle, you had to expect Thatcher to be who she was.”
'Still the Enemy Within' features unseen archive footage and interviews to capture the spirit of 1984, when prime minister Margaret Thatcher declared war on Britain’s unions.
The announcement of mine closures prompted 160,000 coal miners to take up the fight with many on strike for an entire year.
Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies, who attended last night’s premiere, said: “I think it’s a great event for Blaenau Gwent and I’m really pleased to see the Welsh premiere taking place in the Market Hall Cinema.
“It’s important for all of us in the miners’ community to remember the impact on the lives of individuals and families.
“The closure of the mines ripped the heart out of the South Wales valleys, we’re still dealing with the effect of that.
“For those of us that lived through it, it’s something that is a part of history, our history, as a community. It isn’t simply a historical event, it’s a human event.”