Druids in defiant mood despite court order

King Arthur Pendragon and supporters outside Salisbury's Crown Court

King Arthur Pendragon and supporters outside Salisbury's Crown Court

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A JUDGE has ordered Druid protester King Arthur Pendragon to dismantle his camp at Stonehenge and move out by Sunday.

Wiltshire Council, which sought the order, said he and his followers were blocking a public byway, which the council, as the highway authority, had a duty to keep open.

With no sanitation or facilities for rubbish disposal, and the prospect of more Druid supporters joining the picket as the weather warms up, there was every chance of “serious damage” to the World Heritage Site, said solicitor Roger Hodkinson. The right to protest did not give the Druids the right to trespass.

Mr Pendragon and three of his followers, who were served the court papers on Friday, were refused an adjournment to seek legal advice by District Judge David Asplin at the County Court hearing in Salisbury earlier today.

The judge also rejected a request that the case be transferred to the High Court, and refused them leave to appeal.

But outside the court after the case, surrounded by colourfully-clad supporters holding up banners proclaiming the Loyal Arthurian Warband and the Council of British Druid Orders, Mr Pendragon was in defiant mood.

He declared: “I have no intention whatsoever of moving at this stage. I will try to get this decision overturned. I will appeal to the highest court in the land if need be.

“All my human rights have been ignored. All my religious rights have been ignored.

“I will be conferring with other senior Druids and we will be contacting all the local MPs and taking legal advice.”

He said that since he set up his picket last summer 8,000 people, including tourists from all over the world, had signed a petition supporting his cause. He wants the fences around the historic site removed, to open it fully to the public, with a tunnel under the A303 and grass over the A344.

His supporters said that far from posing a nuisance, they helped English Heritage to keep the site tidy by picking up rubbish. And visitors loved to see them.

Reverend Kim Payne of the New Order of the Knights Templar, said: “We are being denied our legal right to worship. We want to get a Druid presence there all the time.”

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