Keene riots coincide with annual Pumpkin Festival

Scott Murphy, News Editor

Riots in Keene, NH occurred on Saturday October 18 during the weekend of the town’s annual Pumpkin Festival, causing state law enforcement officials to respond to the scene in order to disperse the crowd.

Unruly partying began on Friday October 17 in the neighborhoods surrounding Keen State College, where the Pumpkin Festival was being held.

The following evening saw the crowds spread become destructive, with eyewitnesses reporting that members of the mobs flooded the streets and threw bottles and cans, tore up street signs, lit fires, overturned a car and some dumpsters and verbally harassed law enforcement officials.

State law enforcement officials intervened at roughly 10 PM on Saturday evening in full force in order to contain the crowd and minimize further damage.

Eyewitnesses reported these officials instructed all present persons to return to their homes or dorms before utilizing canine units, SWAT gear, tear gas, tasers and pepper spray on those who remained.

As morning broke on Sunday October 19, reports estimated several dozen hospitalizations and significant monetary damages done to the city.

Photographs and video taken of the riots have prompted disciplinary and legal action upon identified students, most of whom eyewitnesses believed were visiting Keene State from the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Massachusetts.

Keene State President Anne Huot shared in a statement that she was “Saddened and disheartened at the events surrounding this year’s Keene Pumpkin Festival” and that “This is an issue that we can only solve together and we, at Keene State College, are eager to renew in earnest the conversation that leads to meaningful change.”

It is unclear at this point what the transpiring events will mean for next year’s Pumpkin Festival.