Crowds gather at Stonehenge for solstice despite advice

Published June 22, 2021
Security officials look on as people run to Stonehenge ancient stone circle during the summer solstice celebrations.—Reuters
Security officials look on as people run to Stonehenge ancient stone circle during the summer solstice celebrations.—Reuters

LONDON: Dozens of people have ignored advice not to travel to Stonehenge for the annual summer solstice celebrations, which were cancelled on Monday due to coronavirus concerns.

English Heritage, which looks after the Neolithic monument, had planned a live feed of the sunrise at Stonehenge for the second year in a row.

But the organisation said that programme had to be interrupted because of safety concerns after a number of people have chosen to disregard our request to not travel to the stones this morning.

Thousands of people who tuned in to watch the sunrise at the stones online ended up watching pre-recorded footage before the live feed returned around 5am.

Video from Britain’s PA news agency and elsewhere showed dozens of people gathering inside the stone circle, with some scaling a low fence to climb inside the restricted area to reach the stones. Some were seen dancing and others held a banner that read Standing for Stonehenge.

English Heritage said it was disappointing to see people act in a way that put themselves, our staff and the police at risk during a pandemic.

The summer solstice typically draws tens of thousands of people to the stone circle in southern England to celebrate the longest day of the year.

Wiltshire Police said despite a minor incursion into the stone circle early on Monday, the solstice weekend was peaceful. One woman in her 50s was arrested in the area on suspicion of drunk and disorderly behavior, the force said.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021

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