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Police, Mich. St. Protesters Clash

May 2, 1998

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Police in riot gear fired tear gas at Michigan State students early today in a clash over a ban on alcohol at a popular site for pre-football game tailgate parties.

Four or five students were arrested after bottles and rocks were thrown at police, police Chief Lawton Connelly said.

Six people were treated at the scene and six others _ including one firefighter _ were treated at Sparrow Hospital for minor injuries and released, ambulance workers said. Most of the injuries stemmed from tear gas, they said.

The crowds had been dispersed and the last of the bonfires extinguished by 8 a.m., authorities said.

A crowd of students converged on the downtown area shortly after midnight and lit the first of several bonfires.

Dave Rudolph, a Michigan State senior who participated in the protest, said the first round of tear gas was fired by police without warning.

``Had we gotten a warning before they shot the tear gas, the crowd would have dispersed,″ Rudolph said.

Police Capt. Stephen Chubb said police warned the crowd each time before tear gas was sprayed.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, known informally as the student assembly, said in a statement they are angry they weren’t consulted before the administration imposed the alcohol ban.

The ban was implemented for Munn Field, where fans hold tailgate parties before Spartan football games. School officials said last month that alcohol use had gotten out of control in recent years at the field.

The ban takes effect this fall, though tailgate parties still will be allowed.

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