On June 1st 1985, a convoy of travellers, peace protestors, green activists and festival-goers set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. There were around 450 people in total, and they included a number of women and children. They never reached their destination. Eight miles from the Stones they were ambushed, assaulted and arrested with unprecedented brutality by a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 officers drawn from six counties and the MoD. (from £12.00)
That event has gone down in history as â€˜The Battle of the Beanfieldâ€™. This book is the combined effort of a large number of people who feel passionately that only through reaching an understanding of what actually occurred before, during and after â€˜The Battle of the Beanfieldâ€™ can a proper â€˜closureâ€™ take place for those involved and the many people who have been in some way touched by it.
The 14 chapters feature extracts from the police radio log and in-depth interviews with a range of people who were there on the day - including travellers Phil Shakesby and Maureen Stone, journalists Nick Davies and Kim Sabido, the Earl of Cardigan and Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead - as well as Lord Gifford QC, who represented 24 of the travellers at the Beanfield trial in 1991. These accounts cut through the myths, misconceptions and propaganda that have built up around â€˜The Battle of the Beanfieldâ€™ to present a detailed picture of what actually did happen.
Also included are many previously unseen photos, a description of the making of the documentary â€˜Operation Solsticeâ€™, and chapters which set the events of the Beanfield in context. These look at the evolution of the free festival scene, new travellers, convoys and peace protestors, â€˜ravesâ€™ and road protests, the campaigns for access to Stonehenge, and the wider implications of the events of the Beanfield, through increasingly draconian legislation, on civil liberties in the UK.