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Santa Barbara riot spurs calls to end Deltopia spring break party

The Santa Barbara riot included small fires.
The Santa Barbara riot included small fires.

The Santa Barbara riot involving thousands of drunken college students that led to dozens of people being injured, including police officers, is being blamed at least in part on social media for dramatically increasing the crowd of rowdy spring breakers, the Christian Science Monitor reported on April 7.

The Santa Barbara riot occurred over the weekend when more than 15,000 people descended on the small Isla Vista neighborhood by the UC Santa Barbara campus for the annual spring break celebration, called Deltopia.

As a result of this year’s Santa Barbara riot and numerous injuries and arrests, officials are now saying this unsanctioned spring break event needs to be stopped, KABC-TV reported.

What was supposed to be a happy spring break event quickly spiraled out of control as drunken college students and others, including some minors, became rowdy. When Santa Barbara officers tried to intervene, it turned into an outright riot, centered around the area of 6700 block of Del Playa Drive.

The revelers threw bricks, bottles and rocks at officers as they tried to quell the Santa Barbara riot. Deltopia partyers ripped up stop signs, lit fires and damaged property, including several law enforcement vehicles. Video footage showed people tearing down stop signs, rocking cars and smashing windows, the Huffington Post reported about the Santa Barbara riot.

Several officers were seriously hurt, including one who was hit in the face with a brick and needed 20 stitches. Police, in turn, responded with pepper spray, tear gas and foam projectiles, but it still took hours to bring the Santa Barbara riot under control.

Police briefly detained at least 100 people in the Santa Barbara riot. Some 44 people injured in the riot went to the hospital.

And now some officials are calling for measures to stop the out-of-control spring breakers, the Los Angeles Times reported as calm began to return to the Santa Barbara area Tuesday morning in the wake of the riot. Violence in the Isla Vista area is nothing new, authorities said, noting that the average age there is 23 and that officials have tried to stop drunken revelers for years.

A Facebook page for Deltopia shows that more than 12,000 indicated they would attend the Santa Barbara event.

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