A bunch of violent, thuggish crackers tore their town to shreds on Saturday. At a pumpkin festival. For quite literally no reason. No one was murdered by a police officer. There was no social injustice. Just wanton destruction in the city of Keene, New Hampshire.
Police were forced to disperse tear gas and pepper spray on the mostly white crowd, who CNN called “rowdy.” This year’s incarnation of the annual pumpkin festival, which set a world record last year with 30,581 lit jack-o’-lanterns, drew a crowd with only one thing in mind: destruction.
“People were just throwing everything they could find — rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins,” said Keene State student Ellery Murray. “People just got too drunk.”
“It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” 18-year-old white guy Steven French, who described the chaos as “wicked,” said of the riot. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”
WMTV reports that:
After a brief calm, riots near the area of Butler Court in Keene, New Hampshire, flared up again Saturday night.
Dozens of rioters threw objects at police and set fires near Blake Street around 9:30 p.m., as police officers wearing riot gear pushed the crowd back.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, Keene police say they fired pepper balls into a crowd of hundreds around the Butler Court and Wincester Street areas to diffuse the riot. Rioters threw glass bottles into the crowd and tore down street signs.
According to reports, several people have been injured and some arrests have been made. Ambulances from several difference departments were sent to the scene.
“State and local public safety officials are on the scene and have been working closely together to defuse the situation,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said of the pumpkin riot. “We will continue to monitor the situation and provide any assistance necessary to Keene.”
“I am saddened and disheartened at the events surrounding this year’s Keene Pumpkin Festival,” said Keene State College President Anne Huot. “Despite the concerted efforts of organizers, city officials, police, and Keene State College, there continued to be disruptive behavior at parties in multiple locations around the city, injuries, and property damage.”
Huot blamed the violence and destruction primarily on outside agitators, who she says felt the event was “a destination for destructive and raucous behavior.”
Keene State College released a statement explaining that:
“Over the past few days, a large number of out-of-town visitors have come to Keene for the Keene Pumpkin Festival. Subsequently, during the course of the evening on Friday, off-campus gatherings associated with the Keene Pumpkin Festival escalated at a number of locations around the city. Keene State College administrators have been coordinating closely with the City, and continue to do so. Keene State is also communicating regularly with students and parents of current students.
Incidents in the city, not on Keene State’s campus, subsided overnight but began to increase again by mid-afternoon on Saturday. One large assembly on Winchester Street drew multiple responses from Keene Police on Saturday afternoon. The College is not able to report on injuries or arrests — these incidents do involve Keene State students, and also visitors to Keene.”
More than a dozen arrests were made, and about 30 were injured as rioting white people clashed with police in riot gear.
Many, understandably, are drawing comparisons to Ferguson, Missouri — not because there was incredibly limited rioting following the murder of unarmed teen Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson, not because of the social justice-inspired protests following the shooting, but because white people can do exactly what the Right Wing accuses Ferguson residents of doing for absolutely no reason, and simply be called “unruly” and “rowdy.”
Watch some videos of this example of white privilege in action, below: