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The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge in the south England it was closed to visitors on Saturday after dozens of protesters violated the British government’s road construction plans, including a new tunnel near the World Heritage site.
The protesters, who described themselves as an alliance of local residents, environmentalists, activists, archaeologists and pagans, meeting at Stonehenge around noon.

English Heritage, a national charity that manages hundreds of historic sites, made the decision shortly after to close Stonehenge to visitors “due to unforeseen circumstances” and said it was illegal for anyone to enter the monument area without their consent.

In this file photo from Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, visitors take photos of the world heritage site of Stonehenge, England.  The British government went against the recommendations of planning officials when it gave its consent on Thursday, November 12, 2020, to controversial plans for the construction of a road tunnel near the prehistoric Stonehenge monument in southern England to alleviate congestion along a wide stretch.  prone to jams.  (AP Photo / Alastair Grant, file)
The British government went against the recommendations of planning officials when it gave its consent to controversial plans to build a road tunnel near the prehistoric Stonehenge monument in southern England to ease congestion along a very long stretch prone to jams. (AP)

“While we respect people’s right to demonstrate peacefully, we do not tolerate behavior that disrupts and endangers the site and the people who visit or work here,” said a spokeswoman for English Heritage.

Wiltshire Police, the local police force, said the “small” protest “passed peacefully” and that no arrests were made.

“While we are grateful that the protest was peaceful and quickly dispersed, we want to remind the public that trespassing on the stones is illegal,” police said in a statement.

The protest comes less than a month after the government endorsed the $ 3 billion Australian dollar tunnel plan.

The tunnel near Stonehenge that is intended to ease traffic along a section of the A3030 motorway that is very prone to jamming.

The decision has faced strong opposition from local residents and archaeologists.

Opponents, who have taken legal action against the project, say the tunnel will harm the environment, wildlife and potential underground archaeological finds.

Protesters are also expressing concern over the government’s broader $ 48 billion highway construction program, which they say runs counter to its goals of reducing greenhouse gases.

Traffic piles up on the main road near Stonehenge, seen in the background, as people try to escape for the holiday weekend, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 (Andrew Matthews / PA via AP).
Traffic piles up on the main road near Stonehenge, seen in the background, as people try to escape for a festive weekend. (AP)

“This is the gathering of people who say we’ve had enough,” Dan Hooper, an environmental activist who is better known as Swampy.

“Building more roads just creates more traffic and more carbon.”

Stonehenge, which is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, was built on the flat lands of the Salisbury Plain in stages, beginning 5000 years ago, with the unique stone circle erected in the late Neolithic period around 2500 BC. C.

The meaning of the site has been the subject of intense debate, some seemingly more outlandish than others.

English Heritage points to various explanations throughout the centuries, from Stonehenge as a coronation site for Danish kings or a Druid temple to a cult center for healing or an astronomical computer for predicting eclipses and solar events.

The charity said the interpretation “most generally accepted is that of a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun.”


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