Pumpkin festival: 14 arrested in New Hampshire as college town revelry turns into out-of-control riot

'People were just throwing everything they could find'

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Riot police armed with pepper spray were called to a pumpkin festival after the annual event descended into chaos.

Huge crowds including college students and visitors had gathered for the festival in Keene, New Hampshire, when people started throwing things and several were injured, the Associated Press has reported.

According to the Keene Police Department log, which shows 235 calls between 2.30am on Friday and 3.20am on Sunday, one group of young people threatened to beat up an elderly man and another resident heard someone "threatening to kill officers."

Some 49 arrests were made during that time, of which at least 14 were related to the behaviour of the revellers – most were disorderly conduct or alcohol related offences.

One student, Ellery Murray, told the Boston Globe: "People were just throwing everything they could find – rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins, people just got too drunk.”

The Southwestern New Hampshire Fire Mutual Aid organization said on Twitter that several people were injured from thrown bottles at a party involving hundreds of people.

The festival is meant to involve the community trying to set the world record for the largest number of jack-o-lanterns in one place.

Keene State College said in a statement that “off-campus gatherings escalated at locations around the city.”

The college president, Anne Huote, said in the emailed statement that the festival had been promoted by others "as a destination for destructive and raucous behaviour” and that the college had tried working with the city and campus to prevent this from happening.

“We deplore the actions of those whose only purpose was to cause mayhem and the students involved will be held accountable” Huote said.

As the parties at the festival went on into the night students over-turned cars and lit fires.

The riot has been generally mocked and derided on Twitter, with many pointing out how privileged the rioters are.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press