Riot crews were out in full force twice Saturday during a pumpkin festival near Keene State College in New Hampshire after an afternoon party got out of control and raucous crowds returned at night.
In the afternoon incident, at least 30 people were injured near Keene State College. Twenty people were transported to hospitals, according to Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard, who said that injuries appeared to be minor at this time.
At that same time, there had been about 12 arrests.
Just before 10 p.m., fires were lit and police unloaded tear gas into another crowd that gathered.
Nashua Police was called in to assist Keene Police. Their Special Response Team has been activated.
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Most of the injuries during the day were caused by people getting hit by objects, including bottles.
The incident took place around 2:30 p.m. at a party near the intersection of Winchester Court and Winchester Street, adjacent to the school's campus.
A large police and fire presence remained at the scene through the afternoon. The city, which already had four times the ordinary number of first responders on for the event, had to call in even more reinforcements.
"We have several resources here, but yes, it was well beyond a normal response," said Howard.
Bystanders describe the chaos as police tried to control the unruly crowd.
"They just started walking on the street, with, like, mace, tear gas and these rubber bullets," said one witness.
"I think this year, it was not as bad as last year, but I think the police are being much more aggressive," said another. "I think the pepper spray was a little much - rubber bullets were a little much.
Howard says officials are looking out for the safety of the community and will remain in the area all night.
"I was in Keene this afternoon and met with our public safety officials and visited the medical tent and other volunteers," wrote Gov. Maggie Hassan in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and provide any assistance necessary to Keene."
According to the school, the large number of visitors to the Pumpkin Festival contributed to the incident.
"One large assembly on Winchester Street drew multiple responses from Keene Police on Saturday afternoon. The college is not able to report on injuries or arrests," said Keene State College in a statement. "These incidents do involve Keene State students, and also visitors to Keene."
The school added that it is communicating with current students and their parents.
"I am saddened and disheartened at the events surrounding this year's Keene Pumpkin Festival," said Keene State College President Anne Huot in a statement Saturday night. "Despite the concerted efforts of organizers, city officials, police, and Keene State College, there continued to be disruptive behavior at parties in multiple locations around the city, injuries, and property damage."
Huot said that the school intends to hold the students who "played a part in this behavior."
"This is an issue that we can only solve together and we, at Keene State College, are eager to renew in earnest the conversation that leads to meaningful change," she said.
According to Keene State College, off-campus incidents occurred Friday but subsided overnight.
NECN will have more as this story develops.