STONEHENGE ’85 – Souvenir Issue
Includes first-hand accounts from The Battle of the Beanfield, June 1st 1985
Edited by Sheila Craig
32 pages, A5 booklet
Published June 1986
1986 price £1.50, now available for £3.00
“The newspapers described it as a ‘battle’, we experienced it as an attack. Of course in one sense it was a battle, of ideas, ideology, but Rainbow Warriors are warriors of the spirit and do not carry arms. We went, in our vehicles with our homes on our backs. And we didn’t just take our families/our animals/our beds/our books/our clothes/ our pots and pans, we took with us the warm fires, leafy hedgerows, smokey logs crackling under the stars.
“For Stonehenge is more than a festival, it’s a way of life, a celebration of a way of living all year round. For many it’s as much a part of the annual cycle as solstice is to summer. Is it really possible to stop the solstice sunrise?
“Afterwards, to add insult to injury … the police confiscated our axes and saws and other domestic implements saying they were dangerous weapons, though it seems symbolic of the way in which the authorities are trying to undermine the survival of the travelling movement which, behind the “dirty hippies” propaganda, they find politically threatening.
“Well, we never got our axes back, or our saws, but we still have the stars, the hedgerows and the crackling log fires …”
DICE GEORGE: On a sunny stony saturday afternoon in high spirits we left the forest, I was in the middle, I was forced into the grass field, on Radio One I heard that they were trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement, I played my flute, I lit a fire, I made tea, I was sitting in my bus when police paramilitary charged they smashed six windows I said I surrender I came out of my bus with my hands on my head they hit me on the head I rolled into a ball they hit me some more they interned me for two nights then they cautioned me and charged me with unlawful assembly …
SALLY: They were charging straight towards us with their shields and truncheons, I was standing outside the truck with the children and yelled “DON’T BE STUPID, what do you think you’re doing!” It had an effect – the ones nearest us lowered their truncheons and surrounded us, just herded us off … From the road we could see our friends and their coaches being beaten up, it seemed unreal, like watching a film.
MARTIN: I shouted “peace, peace, there’s a baby on board …”
LIN: Whether it was a body or a bus didn’t seems to make any difference. The windscreen caved in simultaneously with an iron spike coming through the driver’s side window. If I hadn’t instinctively drawn away as the windscreen broke, the spike would certainly have gone straight through my skull …
I left the driver’s seat as a policeman was coming through the broken windscreen flailing his baton wildly, and shouted to them to stop as we had three babies on the bus, but they took no heed until the ITN camera crew arrived. We (myself plus 9-month old baby and 14 year old son, two other mums with tiny babies, and two pacifist men from Molesworth) were led away bruised and bleeding to the waiting riot vans.
EARL OF CARDIGAN: I saw a policeman hit a woman on the head with his truncheon. Then I looked down and saw that she was pregnant and I thought “My God, I am watching police who are running amok.”
GEORGE: We had the windows bricked and I was covered in shattered glass. One of the bricks hit me on the head and my head started to bleed. It was odd thinking that the forces of (DIS)order were throwing bricks at us. When that happens you don’t think about the political ideology of non-violence, you just think that some bastards are out to get you.
BEN: Well, after Stonehenge the fear has gone. Once you’ve lived through something like that it makes you fearless, doesn’t it? Well, I mean …
NELL: There’s only one winner in the end and that’s peace. Violence and hatred will only burn themselves out in the end.
GEORGE: Maybe the ‘convoy culture’ is not the same as yours but everyone should have the right to live as they want. Repressive society cannot tolerate travellers, remember the Nazis went for the travellers first as well.
Alan Lodge Photographcs, 1 Chapel Cottages, Chapel Street, Caersws, Powys.