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Battle of the Beanfield 20th anniversary - events
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andy worthington
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Battle of the Beanfield 20th anniversary - events
May 31, 2005, 13:27
Hi everybody,

Wednesday June 1st 2005 is the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield. For those who are unaware of this dark day for British justice and civil liberties, the Battle of the Beanfield took place after a convoy of 140 travellers' vehicles, containing around 450 men, women and children – including travellers, peace protestors, green activists and festival-goers – had set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. 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. The Stonehenge festival came to an end, and the travellers' entire way of life was now under threat as the state prepared to introduce new legislation that would aid them in their mission to 'decommission' the travellers' movement and the free festival circuit that sustained it.

To mark the anniversary, I've put together a number of events:

Thursday 2 June, 8.30 pm. Woodruffs Organic Café, 24 High Street, Stroud (part of the Stroud 05 Arts Festival). On the opening night of the touring exhibition of photos of the Stonehenge festivals, the Beanfield, and the years of exclusion (which runs until 30 June), I'll be showing the 1991 Beanfield documentary 'Operation Solstice', and talking about 'The legacy of the Beanfield.' Entry £2.

Saturday 4 June, 2 pm. SchNEWS tent, Strawberry Fair, Cambridge. I'll be giving a talk on 'The Battle of the Beanfield', illustrated with a selection of projected images. Entry free.

Tuesday 7 June, 7.30 pm. South London Radical History Group, Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton St, Elephant and Castle, London SE17. I'll be showing 'Operation Solstice' and talking about 'The legacy of the Beanfield.' Entry free.

Saturday 11 June, 3-8 pm. South East London Folklore Society (SELFS) at the Brockley Jack Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 (part of the Brockley Max Arts Festival). I'll be talking about 'The Battle of the Beanfield' as part of this day of talks. Other speakers include Steve Wilson, Scott Wood and Neil Gordon-Orr. Entry free.

Also forthcoming: Enabler Publications is issuing the first full-length book about the subject: 'The Battle of the Beanfield'. Edited by Andy Worthington, with photos and contributions by Alan Lodge, Tim Malyon, Neil Goodwin, Gareth Morris, Alan Dearling and others, the book will be published in time for the summer solstice.

'The Battle of the Beanfield' features in-depth interviews with a range of people who were there on the day, including travellers, journalists, landowners and the police, extracts from the police radio log, a hundred photos (including many which have rarely been seen before), chapters on the 1991 Beanfield trial, a description of the making of the documentary 'Operation Solstice', 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, 'raves' 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.
Copies can be pre-ordered from Enabler Publications, 16 Bitton Avenue, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8HD. Cheques for £12.95 plus £2 P+P to 'Enabler Publications'. For any further information, please email me: a.worthington[at]britishlibrary.net

All the best,

Andy is the author of Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion (www.hoap.co.uk/alternative.htm), described by John Hodge of SchNEWS as 'by far the best bit of modern British social history I've seen.'

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