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Scores arrested at Massachusetts 'Blarney Blowout'

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2014 at 1:04 am •  Published: March 9, 2014

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Police have arrested more than 70 people participating in the pre-St. Patrick's Day "Blarney Blowout" around the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus in Amherst.

Amherst police say 73 people have been arrested and four officers suffered minor injuries as they worked to disperse thousands of unruly students in several large crowds throughout the day and night Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday.

Police had to use pepper spray to disperse a crowd of students outside an off-campus apartment complex who were throwing beer cans and bottles at police.

A spokesman for UMass says that students arrested will have details of their behavior reviewed under the school's code of conduct. Sanctions can include suspension or expulsion.

Most have been charged with failing to disperse and disorderly conduct. Police say some people have been released on bail while others were held, depending on charges.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

An early St. Patrick's Day celebration around the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus known as "Blarney Blowout" spun out of control Saturday as police officers in riot gear arrested more than 60 people while dispersing massive crowds, including unruly students throwing beer cans and bottles.

Police said early Sunday that 68 people had been arrested and four officers suffered minor injuries after police spent the day attempting to disperse "several" large gatherings. Amherst Police Capt. Jennifer Gundersen said in a statement that police remained busy through Saturday night handling numerous reports of fights, noise and highly intoxicated individuals.

"It is extremely disturbing and unsafe. Perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness," Gundersen told The Republican in Springfield. "It is extremely upsetting. It is very dangerous."

Most of the arrests came at an off-campus apartment complex, where large crowds began gathering Saturday morning for the annual event, which was started by bars to allow the students to celebrate the holiday before their spring break begins this week.

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.

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