Just several dozen alien-hunters gather for ‘raid’ on Area 51
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Extraterrestrial flop

Just several dozen alien-hunters gather for ‘raid’ on Area 51

After millions marked on Facebook that they would attend storming of facility, long a subject of conspiracy theories, actual turnout disappoints

Women are dressed as aliens at a 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event called 'Alienstock' on September 20, 2019 in Rachel, Nevada. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)
Women are dressed as aliens at a 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event called 'Alienstock' on September 20, 2019 in Rachel, Nevada. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

RACHEL, Nevada, United States — Several dozen people — rather than the two million feared — showed up on Friday near a secretive US military base in the Nevada desert, answering a meme-inspired Facebook event to storm the site in search of aliens.

The revelers, some wearing alien masks or tin foil hats, began gathering at the suggested time of 3 a.m. Friday near the base known as “Area 51,” but they did not attempt to storm the heavily guarded site.

One woman who attempted to pass under a gate was briefly detained, as was a man who urinated nearby.

The event had been posted on Facebook as a hoax in June but it quickly got out of control when more than two million people answered the call to storm the remote base, long the subject of UFO conspiracy theories.

A US police officer keeps watch near an entrance gate to the Nevada Test and Training Range, the government’s official name for what is known as Area 51, on September 21, 2019 near Rachel, Nevada. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

“They can’t stop all of us,” quipped the post, later taken down by Facebook. “Let’s see them aliens.”

The military issued a stern warning ahead of the event saying lethal force would be used against anyone who tried to trespass at the site, which the government only acknowledged existed in 2013.

The “Storm Area 51” invitation has meanwhile spawned weekend festivals in the two tiny Nevada towns of Rachel and Hiko which are located near the site, about a two-and-a half-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Attendees dance to music during Alienstock festival on the “Extraterrestrial Highway” in Rachel, Nevada on September. 20, 2019. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT / AFP)
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