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Police arrest 52 after Massachusetts college party turns violent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police in Massachusetts arrested a total of 52 people after nearly a dozen more were taken into custody early on Sunday as a pre-St. Patrick's Day party turned violent, with officers in riot gear sparring with revelers in skirmishes that lasted nearly 24 hours.

Another 28 people were issued summonses since violence broke out on Saturday morning during an annual party known as the "Barney Blowout," near the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The Amherst Police Department said officers brought the situation under control and made final arrests around 4 a.m. EDT Sunday.

"The party had become dangerous and out of control," a police spokesman said. "As officers began to disperse the crowd, they were again met with glass bottles, full beer cans, rocks and snowballs being thrown at them."

The gathering, traditionally held the last Saturday before Spring Break, brought thousands of students from campus onto surrounding streets, Amherst police said.

St. Patrick's Day is March 17.

Some revelers threw bottles, bricks and other items into crowds of partygoers, and there was damage reported to cars, street lights and other property, police added.

No serious injuries were reported, but several people suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

Four Amherst officers received minor injuries from thrown objects and combative people, Amherst police said. The police also used pepper spray at times.

Those arrested face charges including failure to disperse and inciting a riot, and three for assault with a deadly weapon. Other charges included disorderly conduct, liquor law violations, breaking and entering, and assault and battery on an officer.

The University of Massachusetts condemned the disruptive actions of the "Blarney Blowout" participants. The school will review incidents involving arrested students, who are subject to expulsion or suspension, spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said in a statement.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere, editing by G Crosse)

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