August 5, 2011 / 6:55 PM / 8 years ago

Heightened security at Wisconsin State Fair after violence

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin State Fair officials announced heightened security on Friday, a day after fighting erupted on the fair midway and attacks on police officers resulted in multiple arrests.

“Certain individuals and groups of youths chose to disrupt the evening activities,” Wisconsin State Fair CEO Rick Frenette said.

Fighting between groups of youths on the midway on Thursday night led to 24 arrests, and seven police officers were wounded, fair officials said. Most of the wounds to police were cuts and bruises, but two officers were hospitalized from blows to the head.

Starting on Friday at 5 p.m., youths under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 21 or over, Frenette said.

Wisconsin State Police was working with State Fair police and police from West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee, to ensure order, fair officials said.

They said the youths involved in the fighting appeared to be at the fair to hang out and cause trouble, rather than to go on rides and participate in other fair activities.

Witnesses interviewed on local television said the youths also targeted bystanders waiting in traffic or walking outside the park. Citing Milwaukee police, fair spokeswoman Patrice Harris said four people were hurt outside of the fair grounds.

The fair runs until August 14.

Writing and reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by John Rondy; Editing by Cynthia Johnston

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