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Police Intimidation at Stonehenge

Dan Dread | 22.06.2009 18:54 | Free Spaces | Repression

An intrusive and intimidating police presence aims to disrupt the free spirit of summer solstice 2009 with dogs, horses evidence gatherers and hi-tech arial surveillance.

Anyone who went to Stonehenge for the summer solstice 2009 would have noticed that the crowd has changed from previous years. Sure, there’s still a massive hippie contingent and plenty of druids and shamanic types there for the ritual and the energy buzz, and this year considerably more ‘normal’ sorts; middle class families and large crews of inner city kids just out for a good party. But aside from these peaceful masses a smaller core of bad apples turned up in their high-viz and their riot vans to make everyone feel uncomfortable. For the first time since the Battle of the Beanfield, the police presence at Stonehenge was enormous.

They were everywhere, in your eyes and up your nose and as irritant as hayfever. Hundreds of coppers in total; at the entrance to the stones, the exit from the car park and patrolling all over the site supported by considerable numbers of private security contractors with stab vests, handcuffs and sniffer dogs at the entrance to the stones. I saw two police horses, and big canvas adverts warning about drugs tests and sniffer dogs and encouraging people to deposit drugs anonymously in red ‘Amnesty Bags’ rather than run the gauntlet. Even more sinister, I spotted a Wiltshire Police evidence gatherer team (two guys) filming around the stones just after dawn but didn’t have my camera and was a little too wasted to intervene. There was also a UAV Hicam Microdrone – a small remote controlled camera thing with rotor blades flitting around the stones all night, filming the crowd from above. To cap it all off, a police helicopter buzzed the car park at low altitude for about an hour from around 10.00 in the morning, presumably to keep people awake after a heavy night of partying so they could fall asleep at the wheel on the long drive home.

I’m not writing this article to put anyone off Stonehenge, but to point out the need for a presence at the solstice next year. It’s a shame already that our movement(s) haven’t successfully made the leap to the festival scene despite the fact that many of us go to festivals and celebrate the solstice. But if the Babylon are going to start bringing their shit to Stonehenge again, police it like a protest and act in an intimidating, intrusive manner as they did this year, we need to treat it as a serious threat to our right to gather peacefully. Let’s introduce fitwatch tactics to the party next year, give out some flyers encouraging people to challenge the policing of the event, and if possible find a way to knock that fucking drone out of the sky.

Maybe then our tactics will spread to the festy scene and the mainstream. If the pigs are going to police Stonehenge as if it was a demo, it’s because they rightly see such free and anarchic gatherings as a threat to their authority. To preserve the spirit of the summer solstice, I really think it’s time for us to organise against them.

Dan Dread


Wot Free Festivals? A further rant, from Tash

23.06.2009 02:05

For those interested in this background, I ask you check these out:

Solstice Ritual:
The Story so far:

Personally, I come from a free festivals and travelling background. New Age Travellers etc.
A number of sayings have helped guide my life over time. Like....

Bring what you expect to find?
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
If not here, where?

In sum, this means self-reliance. It means gatherings are ALWAYS better, when people attending don’t just attend , but are a main part of the act. It is obvious to all those there, when this magic happens.

This is actually where I came in. 1972 Windsor, Stonehenge etc..... These were my motives then and remain so now. Of course the authorities have difficulty with a system that means they are not in sole charge, hence all the law and violence since the Beanfield etc......

Over time, I have been involved in raising awareness about the law changes and their implications to us all.

· Public Order Act 1986
· Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
· Noise Act
· Barry Legg MP: Places of Entertainments (Increased Penalty) Act
· Security Services Act
· Terrorism Acts

And now all the Acts that have been going through parliament - with the words
“conduct by a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose” being a new definition of serious crime!!!

With such new definitions of serious crime, that enable the use of some ‘heavier’ police departments to be applied against us. And was the end of all the RTS and similar gigs.
Shame eh?

Then, in ‘rave mode’, I have spent time with the Velvet Revolution and All Systems gigs, I had written ‘Sound Advice’ and the 'Right to Party’ - to try and raise these matters in peoples minds.
Well, we have lost each of the matters I’m on about here. Whoever you vote for, the government gets in!

Now, what I am absolutely positive about though, is that people involved in the scene,

People have to realise that self-interest and their own immediate happiness ( hedonism?), is not enough to make a festival, party rave, traveller site, gathering.
Important, but not enough.

Some folks on reading this will have been too young, to have had any objection to these changes as they have happened over recent years. But many others of you will have been.

The way gatherings are now organised, between those trying to conform with some pretty onerous conditions, (ie half to 2/3 of a ticket price to ‘self-police’ and pay for your own public order management and drug search.!) and those involved with the ‘free’ end of things but at continued ‘personal’ rather than ‘sheared’ risks.

This division is of course orchestrated by the other side.

This [old] hippy Is now of the opinion that folk have now got the events / gathering / party they deserve. Folks say that they haven't seen me at many festivals in recent years ...... well, there haven't been any, have there? not what I mean anyway. I would be interested to know what folks think we should do about it.



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Display the following 10 comments

  1. see — ballz
  2. Cop helicopters and laser pens dont mix — Jay
  3. Microdrones at Festivals — Alistair Fox
  4. rubbish — holly
  5. gangster state — fuck glastonbury
  6. For Alistair Fox and MW Power — Anarchist
  7. Festivals or Disney Land ? — Tom Bola
  8. May u live to see the Sun Rise — Leigh
  9. wake up and smell the tear gas — Rosie Perkins
  10. stonehenge egroup — dicegeorge