LONDON (AP) – The coronavirus pandemic prevented druids, pagans, and partiers from watching the sunrise at Stonehenge to celebrate this year’s summer solstice.

The ancient stone circle in south west England generally attracts thousands of people to mark the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. But Britain has banned mass gatherings as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

English Heritage, the organization that oversees Stonehenge, broadcast the sunrise live. He said that more than 3.6 million people watched the sunrise on Sunday at 4:52 a.m. (0352 GMT).

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

Some druids were determined to see the sunrise in person and gathered in a field near Stonehenge despite a morning rain. Noted druid king Arthur Pendragon said he had been « very wet » but was not discouraged.

« They cannot cancel the sunrise, » he told the BBC. « It is going to happen and we are here to celebrate it. »