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New Agers, neo-pagans at Stonehenge for solstice

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June 21, 2011 06:12 AM EST | AP


LONDON — A damp overcast morning has failed to deter thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice.

Around 18,000 neo-pagans, new agers and curious visitors gathered Tuesday in heavy rain to watch the sun rise over the ancient stone circle on the Salisbury Plain about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southwest of London.

The celebrations are a modern twist on solstice celebrations that were a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar.

Police say the event was good natured but 20 people were arrested for drug and public disorder offenses.

Stonehenge was built in three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. It is one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions with over 850,000 visitors a year.