LONDON (AP) – Stonehenge’s prehistoric monument in the south of England was closed to visitors on Saturday after dozens of protesters encroached on the British government’s plans to build a new tunnel near the World Heritage Site.
Demonstrators, who described themselves as an alliance of locals, ecologists, activists, archaeologists and pagans, gathered in Stonehenge around noon.
English Tradition, a national charity that manages hundreds of historic sites that have decided to close Stonehenge to visitors “because of unforeseen circumstances,” said it was illegal for anyone to enter the monument without its permission.
“While we respect the right of the people to protest peacefully, we do not condone behavior that disrupts and endangers the site and the people who visit or work here,” said an English traditional spokesman.
Wiltshire police, a local police force, said the “small” protest was “quietly executed” and no arrests were made.
“The protest is peaceful and we are grateful that it broke up quickly. We would like to remind the public that trespassing is against the law,” the police force said in a statement.
The protest comes less than a month after the government backed a 7 1.7 billion ($ 2.3 billion) tunnel project. The subway near Stonehenge aims to facilitate longer traffic on the A3030 Highway, which has the potential for widespread gridlock.
This decision met with strong opposition from locals and archaeologists. Opponents who have taken legal action against the project say the tunnel will damage the environment, wildlife and potential archaeological finds underground.
Protesters have expressed concern over the government’s 27 27 billion road construction project, which they say runs counter to its objectives of reducing greenhouse gases.
Dan Hooper, a well-known environmental activist known as Swampy, said, “It’s a bunch of people who say that’s enough for us.” “Building more roads leads to more traffic and carbon.”
One of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, Stonehenge began 5,000 years ago and was built on the flat lands of the Salisbury Plains, forming a unique stone circle in the late Stone Age 2,500 BC.
The content of the site has been the subject of intense debate, with some appearing to be more foreign than others. The English tradition refers to many interpretations over the centuries – a coronation site for Danish kings in Stonehenge or a cult center for healing from a Druid temple or an astronomical system for predicting eclipses and solar events.
“What is generally accepted is a prehistoric temple associated with the movements of the sun,” the charity said.