East Lansing — Police in riot gear dispersed rowdy crowds early Sunday in East Lansing, where thousands converged around fires and some overturned cars to celebrate Michigan State University’s first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter century.
East Lansing police denied social media reports tear gas was used to scatter a group at River Street, where a large fire was burning.
“There was no tear gas or chemical munitions dispersed,” East Lansing police spokeswoman Heidi Williams told The Detroit News.
East Lansing police said they made multiple arrests and were assisted by Michigan State University Police, Michigan State Police and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Elsewhere, revelers overturned at least one car and there were reports of more.
A witness to one incident, Erika Gonzalez, 26, of Lansing, reported that eight revelers approached a red car near Milford Arms apartments and within seconds had turned it over.
An estimated two thousand people gathered in one spot, near Cedar Village apartments across from the MSU campus, a traditional hotspot of large-scale celebratory partying. Revelers ripped landscaping trees from near the complex to feed a huge bonfire.
Revelers tossed anything that could burn into the bonfires, including a bicycle, plastic basketball hoop base and kitchen fire extinguishers.
Participants and onlookers dubbed the revelry the #RoseBowlRiot on social media. By 2:30 a.m., participants were reporting on social media that police had begun using tear gas and had made arrests.
Police began blocking access to Grand River Avenue, the main thoroughfare separating the MSU campus and downtown East Lansing, at about 2:45 a.m.
The fire near Cedar Village was one of more than a dozen that were reported around East Lansing in the aftermath of the victory. The blazes weren’t only celebratory: Temperatures were 12 degrees at 2 a.m. as the first frigid spell of the season gripped Michigan.
The police, dressed in riot gear, arrived near Cedar Village before 2 a.m. When officers initially marched away from the main fire burning near Cedar Village, the crowd chanted, “Nah, nah, nah … hey, goodbye.”
No. 10 MSU defeated No. 2 Ohio State, 34-24, in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis late Saturday.
Celebrations moved outdoors soon after.
The appearance of East Lansing police succeeded in moving the main revelry spot west, where they sought to topple a large cedar tree that was nearly as tall as a two-story house. “That tree! That tree!” the crowd chanted.
East Lansing has a history of erupting in large outdoor partying after big sporting events, including 1999, 2001 and 2005.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131208/METRO06/312080012#ixzz2mtW1rhpy