Monday, October 20, 2008

Chico, CA: Party-Goers Throw Bottles at Police & Start Fires Downtown

Hundreds clogged Ivy Street, starting fires, jumping on cars and shouting in the roadway before police intervened around 12:45 a.m. Sunday.

Many participants said the incident began around 11:30 p.m. Saturday after police broke up a party on Cherry Street between West Sixth and West Seventh streets. Several people from the party moved toward the popular intersection of Fifth and Ivy streets, where others joined in.

As police attempted to break up the conflict, the revelers spilled into the streets.

Melissa Gonzalez of Richmond said people were upset when police arrived at the Cherry Street party. "When cops broke it up, everyone just went to the street."

Just after midnight, Ivy Street was filled with college-age revelers and many bystanders were describing the incident as a "riot." The telltale glows from cell phones and cameras shone as people recorded the event.

At one point, the crowd surged down Ivy Street toward a couch that had been set ablaze between West Third and West Fourth streets.

People were seen tossing bottles toward the blaze, while others jumped across the flaming couch. Several clambered atop vehicles, porches, lampposts and other objects to get a better view of the gathering. The roof of one car was heavily dented.

For about an hour, the largely non-violent crowd packed the street without police intervention.

There were also some profane chants denouncing the police.

Fires were reported along Ivy from Fifth Street to West First Street. A small vegetation fire was reported in front of Whitney Hall. A larger fire was started at the Warner Street bridge over Big Chico Creek.

Starting at 12:43 a.m., a line of police officers in riot gear began methodically walking up and down Ivy Street from West Fourth to West Second. The sea of bystanders quickly parted for the streetwide cordon, but the crowd reformed behind the officers almost as quickly.

"We had bottles thrown at us, even some type of citrus fruit" said one cop.

Check out the link for a video of people rushing toward the burning couch

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