SEATTLE (AP) — 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.
Three people were arrested during the melee late Saturday and early Sunday in the scenic college town of Bellingham, about 75 miles north of Seattle.
"There was drinking, it became disorderly and pretty much an out and out riot," Bellingham police Sgt. Mike Scanlon told The Associated Press.
Several police officers suffered minor injuries from broken glass, and police cars and a public bus were damaged, police said in a news release Sunday.
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 around 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 wasn't 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."
Bottles, cinder blocks, dinner plates and patio furniture were among the items thrown at officers, police said.
Up to 500 people had converged on the park as police worked to disperse them, at one point using pepper spray, Scanlon said. It took about 45 minutes to clear the area and restore order.
Boushey said she saw several people throwing bottles and beer cans at police officers and provoking them. She saw multiple officers get hit by bottles.
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