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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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Hide the following 10 comments


22.06.2009 19:31

how well the fucking thing flies when you fire a sling shot full of bolts at it


Cop helicopters and laser pens dont mix

22.06.2009 21:18

In the news just recently- police upset at kids using laser pens to dazzle helicopter pilots who have to retreat as its a safety hazard.
No one would suggest activists do this- must be illegal!


Microdrones at Festivals

23.06.2009 07:22

Please note it was not the Microdrone that was used at Stonehenge. MW Power do not endorse the operation of this 'type' of equipment 'over' an event. As far as I am aware Wiltshire Police do not own this type of equipment, I can only assume that this was a local supplier of lower grade non-Police spec UAV systems.

Alistair Fox
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23.06.2009 09:33

ahhhhhhhhh so thats why all that rubbish was left at the site

i wondered what the explanation for that would be

if youi dont look after these sites then you dont deserve to be there


gangster state

23.06.2009 09:51

I have to agree with alan pretty much. You could say we have the fascist state ( certainly run by and for gangsters ) we deserve too...Consumer society got fat around the square mile. ( including fat 'lefty' lifestylists ). More litter there than in 1984 ( and that was a grim year in many ways there so lets not have rose tinted specs )!! DIY spirit in this country? No - lots of dodgy NGO / charidee leeches pretending to be green all the way into waitrose. Shite capitalist simulacra-festies for the middle classes is what's mainly left. Other stuff plagued by spineless drop out rigs who let their friends mug people, sexist neo-colonialist hippie capitalist trance dickheads etc....christ what an island. have a feast of friends instead...

fuck glastonbury

For Alistair Fox and MW Power

23.06.2009 09:54

You and your company are the enemy for supplying these drones to the State.

You share responsibility for the authoritarian direction of the UK.

I hope you die in a car crash.


Festivals or Disney Land ?

23.06.2009 10:18

Yes Tash. I agree that the Festival ' Scene' has totally changed from the Free Festivals of the 1970's - 1980's.

The Free Festivasl had an ongoing culture that went past the Monday morning close down.
It was all part of a massive Counter - Culture from a grass roots level and not from a ' Camden Town ' level as todays festivals.

Most festivals of today are little more than a Disney Land type of weekend experience, Hippy Theme Parks etc drawing mostly a different sort of crowd.

Most cost £100 + to get in and the food at these places is One big rip off. £7 + for a measley plate of vegetables and rice is very common.

The exploitation of workers at the Festivals is another issue.
Most of the workers, stewards, people working on stalls are mostly working for NO wages , Just a Free Ticket in to the event. When you work out the hourly rate + overtime etc, it can easily be that the workers are doing £250 worth of work for a £100 Ticket.
And beside that, one is so tired after doing an 8hour shift that one can not enjoy the Festival.

I remember at the Stonehenge Free Festivals 1974 - 1984. The whole economy was based on the Dole payment...EG..The dole at the time was say £20 then the food Drinks etc where priced, 50p for a meal, 5p for tea.

Nowdays the Festival economy is based on everyone earning £350 a week wage.

Yes Tash ... I yearn for the ' Good old Days '

Tom Bola

May u live to see the Sun Rise

23.06.2009 10:31

Yeh well alot of people i met at the Solstice new the henge would pigged up to the hilt,surely it was ruined years ago with that ugly fence all the way around it...if there is to be any change to future celebrations not only will you have to deal with the police but also english heritage who have alot to be enough fund raising and a few benefit gigs maybe soon you will be able to hire stone henge and charge people to get in.......

.....personally i think there are so many ancient sites around these fair isles that we can leave the Henge to the tourists......."Hey martha come here and have alook at this hippie hugging a stone...hurry we have to get our coach back...." (an poor example of an american acsent) hey maybe we could concentrate on building a bigger party for next year somewhere else...

I went to the Nine Ladies Stone Circle in the Peak District and had a good relaxing time,people where OK..... low police presence,helped pick all the cans and bottles up afterwards....etc etc

Fireworks aimed at the Police Helicopters could be fun......


wake up and smell the tear gas

23.06.2009 12:43

I am inclined to the think that the parallels with the 1980s are way more appropriate than we realise. A lot of evidence from protests and other things of late make me believe that the recent powers given to the police mean they are back to acting like the did in the 80's - hired thugs allowed to take things into their own hands as they see fit.

Look at recent protests and at the policing at Strawberry Fayre this year (FIT team in the green area & so on). At Appleby Horse Fair a couple of weeks ago, a lot of traditional stopping sites on common land were fenced off and the police presence was vast.

May be we need to re-build the networks we had a few years back when lots of us fought the CJA and re-build the links between different communities and make sure we stand together on these issues?


Rosie Perkins

stonehenge egroup

23.06.2009 14:27

stonehenge egroup is at:
it is unmoderated so theres sometimes quite a lot of shit covering the diamonds!

see also my


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