Police use tear gas to disperse party near JMU

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Police have used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse what they say was a rowdy crowd of thousands who gathered for an annual open air party near the James Madison University campus.

Lt. Kurt Boshart of the Harrisonburg Police Department said about 8,000 people gathered Saturday afternoon for an off-campus party that usually draws only 1,000 to 2,000.

When fights broke out, Boshart said police tried to break up the crowd and some party-goers threw bottles and rocks at officers, leading them eventually to resort to tear gas.

Boshart says more than 30 people have been arrested and charges are pending.

It's unclear why so many people converged on the town of 40,000 this year, but Boshart says he heard the event had been promoted on Facebook.

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