Riot police break up party in Washington college town
SEATTLE — Hundreds of college-age revelers in Washington state — thwarted in efforts to continue a large party — threw projectiles at police who responded with pepper spray to disperse them, authorities said.
Multiple partiers were arrested during the melee late Saturday and early Sunday in the scenic college town of Bellingham, about 75 miles north of Seattle, police Sgt. Mike Scanlon said.
“There was drinking. It became disorderly and pretty much an out-and-out riot,” he told The Associated Press.
Scanlon said the unrest began as police dispersed a noisy party that had drawn a few hundred people.
Lauren Boushey, 20, a junior at Western Washington University in Bellingham who was at the apartment complex party, said it broke up about 9 p.m. and police officers politely asked people to go home.
“It was set up to be ... this really nice night and nothing reckless or ridiculous like it turned into,” she said Sunday, noting that the party was not connected to the ensuing ruckus. People lingered, and a crowd started forming a block away, she said.
Many of the revelers moved to nearby Laurel Park, where they were joined by even more people, Scanlon said, calling it a “large, intoxicated, disorderly crowd.”
The situation “finally boiled over,” he said. “They began hurling projectiles at police.”
Up to 500 people had converged on the park, the sergeant said.
It took about 45 minutes to clear the area and restore order.