Battle of the Beanfield (Documentary)

Battle of the Beanfield (Documentary)

On June 1st 1985, a convoy of new 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.

The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a vehicle convoy of several hundred new age travellers, known as "The Convoy" and referred to in the media as the "Peace Convoy" from setting up at the 11th Stonehenge Free Festival at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England after English Heritage who were the custodians of the site persuaded a High Court Judge to grant an exclusion zone of some four miles around the Stones. The incident became notorious for being a notable example of a police riot.

Convoy members reported that after a stand-off of several hours police attacked their procession of vehicles by entering the field where they were being contained, methodically smashing windows, beating people on the head with truncheons and using sledgehammers to damage the interiors of their coaches. The account was supported by all the independent witnesses and upheld by the subsequent court verdicts. The Beanfield was the field neighbouring the vehicles' location; when a large number of police entered the first field, many of the Convoy vehicles tried to escape by going through the Beanfield, where they were pursued and arrested by police.

At the time, the police alleged that they responded after they had come under attack, being pelted with lumps of wood, stones and even petrol bombs. They did not repeat these allegations in any of the subsequent court cases; no proof for any of them has ever come to light. Whilst the full account of events remains in dispute, a court judgement six years later found the police guilty of wrongful arrest, assault and criminal damage.

The first five of the clips make up the complete documentary, ‘Operation Solstice’, the next clip is footage that was never broadcast, and the final clip is the Levellers, Battle of the Beanfield played against a backdrop of images from the day.

http://libcom.org/history/1985-battle-beanfield

The Leveller’s (Battle of the Beanfield)

I thought I heard something calling me
I've seen the pictures on TV
And I made up my mind that I'd go and see
With my own eyes

It didn't take too long to hitch a ride
With a guy going south to start a new life
Past the place where my friend died
Two years ago

Down the 303 at the end of the road
Flashing lights - exclusion zones
And it made me think it's not just the stones
That they're guarding

Hey, hey, now can't you see
There's nothing here that you can call free
They're getting their kicks
They're laughing at you and me

As the sun rose on the beanfield
They came like wolf on the fold
And no, they didn't give a warning
They took their bloody toll

I seen a pregnant woman
Lying in blood of her own
I seen her children crying
As the police tore apart their home

And no they didn't need a reason
It's what your votes condone
It seems they were committing treason
By trying to live on the road

And I say,
Hey, hey, now can't you see
There's nothing here that you can call free
They're getting their kicks
They're laughing at you and me

Hey, hey, now can't you see
There's nothing here that you can call free
They're getting their kicks
They're laughing at you and me

Bastards

Remember what you heard,

Hey, hey, now can't you see
There's nothing here that you can call free
They're getting their kicks
They're laughing at you and me

Posted By

working class s...
Feb 8 2012 19:08

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