Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Stonehenge, VE Day, May 1995.
Stonehenge, VE Day, May 1995.
Photo: Kirsteen Jock Atkinson

News Shorts And Other Business

Stonehenge Welcomes Its Own

VE Day celebrations at Stonehenge

Squall 10, Summer 1995, p.5.

VE Day was commemorated at Stonehenge this year when 300 people descended on the stones just before dawn. Security guards looked on bewildered as the pilgrims arrived, virtually simultaneously, from all points of the compass.

Dawn was welcomed by a note from a conch shell as the crowd sang, danced and cheered. Tourists eagerly snapped photographs although they were reluctant to leave the ‘official’ path that surrounds the stones.

People climbed over the stones and a respectful silence was observed when a representative of those gathered thanked their grandparents for defending their freedom, and honoured those who “fought and died to keep this island free from a totalitarian police state”.

Later in the morning a police van arrived, but left soon after. One police spokesperson said that no laws were being broken and there was little they could do.

In contrast to this happy gathering, the anniversary of the ‘Battle’ (read: massacre) of the Beanfield was commemorated less than three weeks later.

Up to 100 people gathered at a site near Stonehenge only to be met with a police presence that astounded those present. The Wiltshire Constabulary had, it seems, been tipped-off well in advance. Perhaps expecting more people than the VE Day festival and determined to stop anything before it began, three helicopters watched the crowd along with at least 100 police officers.

It would seem that the Wiltshire police force, far from allowing the VE Day event to go ahead, had been caught with their pants down. The sight of police officers breaking up VE Day celebrations would have given the press a field day so the gathering was left along. No such luck for the Beanfield commemorators.

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ASSEMBLIES OF CELEBRATION - An overview of recent decades of festivals, raves, travellers and protesters - 1998