July 3, 2020
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A man stands beside a barbed wire fence next to the closed Stonehenge as people gather to celebrate the dawn of the longest day, the Summer Solstice, near Salisbury, England, Sunday June 21, 2020. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Coronavirus quenches Stonehenge Solstice Celebration

AliExpress WW

LONDON (AP). The coronavirus pandemic prevented druids, pagans, and party-goers from watching the sunrise in Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice this year.

AliExpress WW

The ancient stone circle in southwest England usually attracts thousands of people to mark the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. But the UK has banned mass gatherings as part of containment efforts against COVID-19.

English Heritage, the organ that oversees Stonehenge, instead broadcast the dawn. It said that more than 3.6 million people watched the dawn come at 4:52 a.m. Sunday (0352GMT, 11:52 p.m. EDT on Saturday).

Stonehenge, a World Heritage Site, is believed to be 4,500 years old. This is known for its alignment with the movements of the sun.

Some loyal Druids were determined to watch the sun rise in person, gathering in a field near Stonehenge, despite the morning rain. The famous Druid king Arthur Pendragon said it was “very wet”, but he was undaunted.

“You cannot cancel the sunrise,” he told the BBC. “It has to happen, and we were there to celebrate it.”

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Follow AP’s Pandemic Coverage http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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