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'Blarney Blowout' at UMass: Riot police arrest dozens in pre-St. Patrick's party

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A “Blarney Blowout” at a pre-St. Patrick's Day party Saturday at the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus in Amherst has led to arrests of at least 35 drunk revelers.

According to USA Today on Sunday, the unmanageable gathering involved hundreds, possibly thousands of partygoers, mostly students, who were fighting with campus and local police and throwing beer cans and bottles.

Four police officers were hurt as they tried to break up several large mobs of rowdy, inebriated kids. When the students started setting off fireworks into the crowd, police were forced to intervene and fire pepper spray from paintball-style riot guns.

Reports USA Today:

Police from the city, university and state troopers in riot gear converged on a crowd of about 4,000 people at an apartment complex shortly after noon, police said in a statement Saturday night. Police said party-goers were involved in destruction of property and, as officers began to disperse the crowd, they were pelted with glass bottles, beer cans and snowballs.

The annual Blarney Blowout is one of the biggest events of the year for University of Massachusetts students, who come thousands-strong to areas bars across the city.

Student Dillon Curtis said the campus sent multiple warning emails to the student body, which were clearly ignored.

“We've been up since 7:30am getting ready for this. We read the warning emails from the school but they just send those to scare the freshmen. Today might get crazy but we're just looking forward to having a good time,” Curtis told MassLive.

Amherst police captain Jennifer Gundersen said the scene the police encountered was “extremely disturbing and unsafe… perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness,” she added.

Most of the individuals arrested were charged with failure to disperse. Those students were who arrested will face disciplinary hearings from the college, and could be suspended or expelled.

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