College Pumpkin Festival Careens into Violence and Arrests

KEENE, N.H. (AP) — Huge crowds including Keene State College students and visitors to an annual pumpkin festival in New Hampshire became unruly Saturday, leading to injuries and arrests.

College officials provided few specifics on the melee but said Keene State students and out-of-town visitors were involved. The school said in a statement that off-campus gatherings escalated at locations around the city.

Keene State student Ellery Murray told The Boston Globe she was at a party that had drawn a large crowd when people started throwing things. She said police responded in riot gear and used tear gas to break up the crowd.

“People were just throwing everything they could find — rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins,” she said. “People just got too drunk.”

The Southwestern New Hampshire Fire Mutual Aid organization said on Twitter that several people were injured from thrown bottles at a party involving hundreds of people.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said state and local safety officials worked to defuse what she called “the situation.”

Hours after the commotion broke out, emergency officials said they were still working the scene and couldn’t provide any details.

College President Anne Huot said in an emailed statement that the festival has been promoted by others “as a destination for destructive and raucous behavior” and the college had tried on the front end, in working with the city and campus, to prevent this from happening.

“We deplore the actions of those whose only purpose was to cause mayhem,” she said, adding that the students involved will be held accountable.

Photo courtesy of WMUR 9.

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