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Thousands gather at annual Stonehenge party to mark summer solstice

Britain Stonehenge So_Leff.jpg

June 21, 2013 - People dance and raise their hands in celebration during the summer solstice shortly after 04.52 am at the prehistoric Stonehenge monument, near Salisbury, England, Friday. Following an annual all-night party, thousands of new agers and neo-pagans waited at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge for the sun to come up, but cloudy skies prevented them. They danced and whooped in delight . (AP)

Police say more than 20,000 celebrants have gathered at the famed Stonehenge monument to mark the summer solstice.

The cloud cover Friday morning prevented bright sunshine at dawn of the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere but a joyous spirit prevailed.

Police say there were fewer arrests than usual with 22 people taken into custody, most for drug-related offenses.

The solstice has typically drawn a wide and varied crowd to the mysterious set of standing stones whose purpose remains unclear.

The ancient stone circle on the Salisbury Plain about 80 miles southwest of London, was built in three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C.