JMU Springfest turns into riot, dozens of arrests made

A block party at Harrisonburg, Virginia’s James Madison University became violent yesterday afternoon, and the civil disturbance unit was called in after officers had difficulty containing unruly college students in the giant crowd.

Police say partygoers at JMU’s Springfest 2010 became unruly and aggressive when authorities attempted to disperse the crowd:

“They started getting beer bottles thrown at them, different debris thrown at them so they backed out. Once they backed out we called in the civil disturbance unit,” says Lt. Kurt Boshart with the Harrisonburg Police Department.

Local police used loudspeakers to attempt to quell the unrest via loudspeakers, but students present at the gathering say they were unable to hear the announcements:

“I didn’t hear anything. The first thing I saw was the tear gas. I heard nothing. The people may have been loud in the crowd, but the first thing I saw was the tear gas, and that’s what made me go inside because I couldn’t stay out there,” says Whitman.

Police report that somewhere between 30 to 35 attendees were arrested, and some students may be charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony.

[WHSV]