Boulder rocks in drinking riot

May 9, 1997

Boulder, Colorado, a quiet college town of river walks and stunning views of the Rocky mountains, was licking its wounds this week after a series of student riots.

Thirty-five people were arrested and several injured in two nights of weekend rioting involving hundreds of students. The rioters smashed car and shop windows, showered police with rocks, burning branches and bottles, while officers returned fire with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The spark for the riots was apparently a campaign to curb underage drinking. The legal drinking age in Colorado is 21.

But students in Boulder claimed that University of Colorado authorities and the city police had gone overboard by banning beer during football games and from fraternity and sorority houses. Boulder is well known for its "brew pubs" selling locally brewed beer, but does not have a particular reputation as a "party" campus.

"These actions have forced students into an attitude of defending themselves," student spokesperson Jennifer Frank told the Denver Post.

Early this week, police closed the "Hill", where rioting started two nights in a row, apparently after crowds of students poured out of the local bars.

More than 2,000 people, mostly students, were said to be involved. Those arrested included 19 students.

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