Britain, during the mid '80s, was not a particularly nice place to be, especially if your way of life ran contrary to the will of the government.
Heavy industry was the first to take the brunt. For generations, Britain had supplied the world with coal, steel and other material exports. It was all to end now with factories, foundries and pits being closed down.
Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, gorged on the Capitalist principles of the Milton Friedman school of economics, saw mass unemployment as a reasonable price to pay for realigning Britain within the world market.
Those who disagreed were met with an increasingly militarized police authority, which was given practically carte blanche to do as it would. In the inner cities and amongst the striking miners, charges of police brutality become more frequent and ever more shrill. Between 1984-1985, police forces honed their strategies and skill in violently smashing picket lines and protestors.
By the end of 1984, Wiltshire Police were also planning their tactics, which would be deployed against the Peace Convoy in June 1985. They borrowed heavily from approaches taken against the miners on the picket lines.
The Peace Convoy was largely made up of New Age Travellers - the spiritual (and occasionally actual) heirs of the 1960s Hippy Movement. They wanted no part of Thatcher's Capitalist society.
They converted vehicles into homes, made out of old coaches, ambulances, trucks and vans. They moved around the country, often following the free festival circuit, home-schooling their children and financing their lives with hand-crafted goods or seasonal farm work.
Held at Summer Solstice, the Stonehenge Free Festival was the apex of this nomadic life-style. 30,000 people had turned up for the annual event, for the previous ten years, celebrating with free abandon. They were continuing a centuries long tradition of public gatherings there.
But in 1984, English Heritage had taken possession of the ancient monument. It wanted the landmark monetized with a high entrance fee, and tall fences to keep the public out. Naturally this included a sudden end to the Stonehenge Free Festival.
English Heritage was awarded a four mile exclusion zone around Stonehenge. Any festival goer entering it was immediately deemed a criminal and arrested. The Peace Convoy came early, fore-runners of the thousands more who would certainly follow. They were to test the waters and see how strongly this exclusion zone would be enforced.
What they encountered was utter brutality, which shocked and sickened even those ideologically on the side of the police.