State Street Halloween Riots - Madison, WI

Hordes of revelers jam Madison's State Street, shortly after 10:30 p.m. Buildings and crowds alike were illuminated by massive banks of stadium lights.

Mounted police begin a slow, steady charge down State Street in the face of overwhelming, chanting, unruly crowds.

Shortly after midnight, smoke clouds billowed outside of State Street Brats as police cordoned off a perimeter.

Dense crowds massed in State Street in the stretch between Gilman and Lake, especially the narrow canyon near Qdoba. Crowds grew increasingly belligerent as the night wore on, uniting in Badger football, soccer, and even patriotic chants.

Mounted police swarm in the wee hours of the morning, trying to disperse a knot of rowdies in front of Qdoba as the crowd neared a fever pitch. Several dense knots of active revelers formed and the mounted police, numbering nearly 20 at one point, shuttled back and forth between nodes, preventing density from forming. The tactic, which also included filling in the voids created with officers on foot, showed a marked tactical improvement in response methods over last year.

Partiers taunt mounted officers shortly before all police forces vacated the street on the brink of bartime. When the crowd began throwing things at the officers, the mounted and foot officers fled the field. The forces regrouped up the street and made a massive, forceful push down street with clouds of pepper spray rolling out ahead, driving the crowds from the street.

Throughout the escalation, a public announcement system played an airport style message thanking attendees for their "patronage" of the city and telling them to leave. The crowd responded with "We Want Tear Gas." The pepper spray seemed to be a more effective message in the end. It still stings. Ah, the price of quality blog coverage.

All Photos Copyright 2005 Letters in Bottles