Friday, Sept. 20 marked the official start to the Facebook event titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," and even though the event was created as a joke, people took it seriously and showed up in southern Nevada just outside the U.S. Air Force base.
Around 75 people showed up at a gate to the base, which has been long rumored to house some sort of extraterrestrial information. CBS News reports that one person was arrested on a charge of public urination and someone else was detained early Friday at a gate to Area 51.
Last week, Dutch YouTubers Govert Sweep and Ties Granzier were arrested for allegedly trespassing near the base, though they claimed they weren't planning on participating in the event.
"We didn’t have any intention to storm it because we leave on day before the actual storming dates, and we just wanted… to go there," Sweep told KTNV.
Police say both Sweep and Granzier could understand the no trespassing signs posted around the facility and wanted to look around.
Ahead of the event's date, authorities had issued multiple announcements urging people not to make the trip, including a statement from the U.S. Air Force.
"[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces," spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post. "The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."
The Facebook page had around 2 million people proclaim they were "going" to the event before the page was removed, and the 75 or so who showed up on Friday did so at the time appointed by the page's creator, Matty Roberts, who has admitted that the whole thing was initially a joke.
Instead of storming the base, which he urged people not to do, Roberts planned to hold the music festival Alienstock in the small town of Rachel, Nevada, just outside the base, but ultimately pulled out of the event shortly before it was set to take place. Instead, he promoted the Area 51 Celebration in downtown Las Vegas, a location much more equipped to handle thousands of people.0comments
"There’s no safety or security that can really be promised," he told The Washington Post of Alienstock, adding that the event was a potential "humanitarian disaster." "I didn’t feel comfortable with inviting even my friends and family out to this event, let alone these thousands of strangers."
Photo Credit: Getty / Bridget Bennett