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1 June  
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1985: Hippies clash with police at Stonehenge
More than 300 people have been arrested after an attempt by police to prevent a convoy of hippies reaching Stonehenge led to a violent confrontation.

The travellers were on their way to the ancient stone circle in Wiltshire for an illegal festival but were stopped seven miles from their destination by 500 police officers, who blocked a road and refused to let them pass.

Officers from six different forces dropped 15 tons of gravel onto the road and used council vehicles to block the path of the 140-vehicle convoy.

What happened next is hotly disputed. Police have said they came under attack, being pelted with lumps of wood, stones and even petrol bombs.

But those in the convoy insist that police "ambushed" their peaceful procession of vehicles, methodically smashing windows, beating people on the head with truncheons as they tried to surrender, dragging women along by their hair, and using sledgehammers to damage the interiors of their coaches.

Protesters have accused the police of reacting with extreme brutality to an essentially peaceful gathering.

After the initial police intervention some 200 people - including mothers with small children and babies - fled into a nearby field.

Four hours later, following an appeal by the authorities, some of the protesters left quietly.

Twelve injured people were taken to hospital and 200 were ferried away by police, leaving behind fires and damaged vehicles.

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Stonehenge
Thousands flock to Stonehenge every year

Police and hippies clash at Stonehenge


In Context
The Battle of the Beanfield, as it became known, was the first major test of an English Heritage ban on midsummer festivals at Stonehenge.

Two years later a Wiltshire police sergeant was found guilty of having caused actual bodily harm to a member of the hippy convoy.

Travellers sued the police for damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and damage to property, and in February 1991 a jury at Winchester crown court awarded a total of £24,000 to 21 hippies.

English Heritage's ban was lifted in 2000, and druids have since shared the site with young revellers who use it as a party venue.

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