College Street Party Turns to Urban Warfare When Police, Sheriffs & SWAT Use Force
Each year Kent State University in Ohio hosts a widely popular party called “College Fest.” Similarly to the gathering in 2009, police forces from multiple jurisdictions showed up Saturday and cleared the residential street party with an armored vehicle, pepper balls, smoke bombs, flash-bang grenades & tear gas. Police say their actions were in response to reports of isolated fights and bottles being thrown. Some students say everything was all fun and games until the police “started shooting stuff” at them.
An estimated 3,000 party goers showed up for the annual beer fueled event which was being closely monitored by police from the start of the day. Police say that by the late afternoon, multiple fights had broken out within the crowd. Rather than addressing the individuals involved with the fights, Kent City police called in back up from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Brimfield Police Department and the Metro SWAT team to indiscriminately clear the streets with force.
“They showed up for no reason — we were just drinking out here,” Micheal Smith tells KentWired.com. “Honestly, [the police] want to keep control in the street, and everything was in control until they started shooting stuff at us.”
After police created the chaotic smoke filled scene, a total of 33 people were arrested, none of which were arrested for fighting or throwing bottles. Police used sound amplifying devices to let the crowd know that “the party was over,” but the students responded with chants of “USA, USA, USA!” and “Fuck the Police.” Once the police began firing less-lethal projectiles and explosives into the crowd, some students responded with beer bottle missiles, rocks and additional resistance chants. Police had cleared the streets by 7pm.
Students have already planned a do-over party set for next Saturday. Already more than 2,240 people have RSVP’d on the “College Fest 2012 #2″ Facebook event page.
The weather for the 28th is expected to be a lot better with no rain so lets make this one even bigger…So throw them College Fest t-shirts back on and come out and party with us on College Street!
GET READY TO RAGE!
Online organizers have urged attendees to refrain from fighting and confronting the police during next week’s event. They’ve also made it clear that underage drinking is not welcome. In my view it doesn’t matter how the partiers behave, the police are going to do as they please. Whether the police used the outdoor large gathering as crowd control practice or they actually feel that keeping the peace involves the use of explosive devices and harmful chemical agents, it’s clear that in the vast majority of instances labeled “riots,” the violence is always started or increased by police actions.
Kent State University has a history of violent authoritarian actions. On May 4, 1970, a day known as the “Kent State Massacre,” four students were killed and nine others were wounded when 29 members of the Ohio National Guard fired 67 shoots over a 13 second time period. The guard was responding to protests against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Nixon had announced the week before on April 30. In response to the killings, schools across the county closed as part of a four million student strike.
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