Arrests after pumpkin festival turns to mayhem

The parties around the school were part of the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival

In this photo provided by Seth Meyer police officers line up. Local police, firefighters and ambulances in New Hampshire responded to large crowds of students as the annual Pumpkin Festival is underway near Keene State College Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Media report several people have been injured in an apparent Saturday afternoon melee. (AP Photo/Seth Meyer)

KEENE, N.H. (AP) — Disturbances continued early Sunday near Keene State College after an annual pumpkin festival a day earlier erupted into mayhem and led to arrests, injuries and police in riot gear using tear gas.

Keene State student Ellery Murray told The Boston Globe she was at a party Saturday 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 parties around the school were part of the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival, where the community tries to set a world record of the largest number of carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place.

WMUR-TV in Manchester showed footage of a crowd toppling over a car, people running from tear gas clouds, street signs being torn down and fires burning in the streets. Police dressed in riot gear ordered crowds to disperse.

College officials provided few specifics on the melee but said Keene State students and out-of-town visitors were involved.

The exact numbers of injuries and arrests were not available.

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.

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