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About sharing image copyrightPA beanceild captionPolice in riot gear surrounded a coach which had been circling a field near Stonehenge where violence erupted in For more than a decade violence, screaming and bloodshed marred the summer solstice at Stonehenge - a far cry from the hippy ideal followed by those wanting access to the site. Now families, school groups and druids mingle peacefully amongst the ancient stones as the sun sets on the longest day - so what changed? The events ahead of solstice day in are still bqttle disputed - but those trying to reach the ancient monument said police officers in full riot gear rushed on to the field "attacking absolutely everything in sight". The new age travellers, many of them accompanied by their children and pets, said they were left stumbling around in a bewildering convoy of battered vehicles, attempting to escape. Hours earlier they were making their way to the spiritual landscape of Stonehenge.
I suppose one would call them anarchists. They started pelting the police lines with stones and stuff they picked up from the field and there was this strange stand-off between the police, who were reluctant to go in, and this group of anarchists who were goading them.
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I was standing by a police van and one ball-bearing hit the police van right beside my head. Then at some stage the police took the decision to go in.
There was this extraordinary scene where you had a helicopter overhead with police shouting instructions through a loud speaker and you had a large of police rush on to the field from all sides who started smashing the windows of the buses. It was like something out of the Wild West. There were these huge buses and cars and vans all charging around in circles.
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The buses were trying to run the police down, the police were trying to stop them. They [the police] would smash the sides of the bus windows with the batons and drag anyone they bagtle find inside out. There was a lot of screaming, a lot of shouting and with the noise of the helicopter overhead, the whole thing felt extremely intimidating and terrifying. Traffic officer Bernie Lund, who served with Wiltshire Police from untilhad been sent to a "deated stop site" to intercept it.
With nowhere else to go, the convoy entered an adjacent bean fo The scene then turned chaotic as a stand-off between the police and travellers took hold. Mr Lund says it was then that Molotov cocktails and sticks were thrown benfeild officers.
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Hundreds of arrests "If it had hit anyone in the head it would have just killed them, so I was quite pleased I had a helmet on at the time," he adds. As the confrontation unfolded Mr Lodge, who was working with the festival welfare agencies, was trying to negotiate with the police. By now, families of travellers were driving their vehicles around in "some alarm", surrounded by police and uncertain of what was happening, Mr Lodge says.
It was overwhelming," he adds.
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Mr Lodge strongly refutes claims that travellers deliberately drove their vehicles at police officers, adding that if this had happened people would have been killed. Footage from archive news reports posted online shows police smashing windows, hitting people with truncheons, and dragging people away to be arrested. The day ended with police - whose s were estimated by witnesses to be over 1, - gaining control and arresting people.
Twelve were taken to hospital.
Do you comply with that kind of intimidation, or do you try and stand up to it? Under the Public Order Act groups of people found inside the exclusion zone were deemed an illegal procession and violators faced a maximum three-month prison sentence. The worst film footage was also edited out. When approached for the footage not shown on the news, ITN claimed it was missing.
Sabido said. Public knowledge of the events of that day are still limited by the fact that only a small of beanfeildd were present in the Beanfield at the time. One of the few journalists to ignore police advice and attend the scene was Nick Davies, Home Affairs correspondent for The Observer.
Over the years I had seen all kinds of horrible and frightening things and always managed to grin and write it. But as I left the Beanfield, for the first time, I felt sick enough thr cry.
My ex -wife and I comforting and cuddling each other from bttle, before we were attacked. Photographic evidence is scant because of the nature of the action. He was later acquitted of charges of obstruction although the intention behind his arrest had been served by removing him from the scene. Most of the negatives from the film he managed to shoot disappeared from The Observers archives during an office move.
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A friend and fellow photographer Tim Malyon narrowly avoided the same fate: "Whilst attempting to take pictures of one group of officers beating people with their truncheons, a policeman shouted out to get him and I was chased. I ran and was not arrested". One unusual eye-witness to the Beanfield nightmare was the Earl of Cardigan, secretary of the Marlborough Conservative Association and manager of Savernake Forest on behalf of his father the Marquis of Ailesbury.
He had travelled along with the convoy on his motorbike accompanied by fellow Conservative Association member John Moore. Cardigan subsequently provided eye-witness testimonies of police behaviour during prosecutions brought against Wiltshire Police. After the Beanfield, Wiltshire Police approached Lord Cardigan to gain his consent for an immediate eviction of the Travellers remaining on his Savernake Forest site.
Make of that phrase what you will, says Cardigan. As a prominent local aristocrat and Tory, Cardigans testimony held unusual sway, presenting unforeseen difficulties for those seeking to cover up and re-interpret the events at the Beanfield.
Rose Brash, 20, is led away by police at the Battle of the Beanfield, June
His treatment by the press was ample indication of the united front held between the prevailing political intention and media backup, with Lord Cardigans eye-witness as a serious spanner in the plotted works: On the face of it they had the ultimate establishment creature - land-owning, peer of the realm, card-carrying member of the Conservative Party - slagging off police and therefore by implication befriending those who they call the powers of darkness, says Cardigan.
Now one thinks about it, nothing could be more natural. I went thhe, saw an episode in British history and reported what I battel. From Bristol, where I was taken, to Southampton and London. Most charges were eventually dropped after all of this.
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Some had lost everything they had. Parents where frantic in locating children that had been taken into care.
Twenty-four of us took out a civil action against the Chief Constable of Wiltshire for the wrongs that were done to us that day. Of course the festival goers played into the hands of the politicians by looking differentusing various drugs and on occasions acting in a manner that would put Joe publics nose out of t.
Remembering the Battle of the Beanfield
However, regardless of whether all travellers were model citizens or notthe way that they were attacked in was a national disgrace -and their treatment was certainly more than was implied by Margaret- 'defender of dictator Pinochet'-Thatcher's remark " that we are only too delighted to do anything we can to make life difficult for such things as hippie convoys"- difficult appearing to be a euphemism for ' smash up your means of travelterrorise your women and childrenput down your animals and attempt to pass legislation that outlaws your very existence '.
No longer could they rely on the festival circuit as a means of obtaining a living or as a secure place to spend the summer months. Post 86forces that had not been such a major problem during the early part of the decade, such as the constant invasive harassment by the police and local authorities, the spectre of heroin which some say was encouraged by the police as a way of destroying the community and younger dispossessed elements who took to the beanffeild of the hattlebut not the ethics, meant that the travellers split up into smaller factions and were increasingly demonised by the media.
It was not the end of the lifestyle by any meansbut it was a major blow to the movement and the fundamental freedoms of the alternative society. The UK police force has usually been used against groups that the government considers a threat to vested interest of some sort - thus police have been used to curb striking workers to protect the interests of employers and to disperse demonstrators to protect the interests of the UK govt of the day in cases where that govt deems those demonstrations threaten the credibility of its foreign or domestic policy.
There have also been several instances where the police have been used to prevent beanfeile public from attending free festivals and in at least two cases the police acted with unnecessary force. The first was Windsor in and the other major instance was Stonehenge in In both cases the police seem to have been seized with hte sort of mass hysteria and taken on the very mob mentality that they themselves are supposed to prevent.
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Why have the police acted in this way? Possibly it may simply be resentment - I remember a friend whose father was a police sergeant in Swansea who told us that many of the force were infuriated that they had to police the Springbok rugby demo - because they had to give up their weekend leave- he predicted that they would give the demonstrators a hard time and it was one of the most violent demos of the tour- with police meting out very rough handling.
However in the case of Windsor and the Henge we think it goes deeper. By its very nature the police force is generally composed of the more conservative elements in our societyits members like an ordered, predictable and rule following citizenry.
Free festival goers are diametrically opposed to these principles, they like taking risks, they flaunt the law by their actionsthey look and act differently. They are a group that the police are almost primed to hate.