Couches burn, fireworks explode across East Lansing after MSU win

8:00 AM, Dec 8, 2013   |    comments
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EAST LANSING (LANSING STATE JOURNAL) -- Wearing riot gear, police early today retook control of River and Cedar streets, clearing them of more than a 1,000 students who celebrated the Spartans' football victory amid three large bonfires.

Beginning about 2:30 a.m., a group of at least seven East Lansing police officers moved in on the largest bonfires in the middle of River Street, forcing celebrating students to move away from the flames.

Just minutes before that, students had been feeding a bed mattress into the flames and other wood, including large branches from a nearby tree, causing flames to reach at least 20 feet high. Earlier, they had fed couches into the flames.

After surrounding the bonfire, officers then marched slowly down the street, forcing the large crowd of students to disperse. No riot cannons or tear gas were used. At that point, many students seemed to heading home. By 3a.m., Cedar Street also was cleared of students.

Police arrested nearly a dozen disruptive students during their intervention, subduing them and taking them away in handcuffs.

During the height of the excitement, students danced with wild abandon near the bonfires, and shouted their revelries at the football win that will send MSU to the Rose Bowl. Despite the potential danger of the bonfires, several students said they saw it as harmless fun.

"It's more tradition than anything," said Joe Sheena, an MSU senior. "We're not a school of pyromaniacs."


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