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'Storm Area 51' Fails To Materialize

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Mario Rayna, center, chants with others at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51.
John Locher, AP

Mario Rayna, center, chants with others at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51.

The secrets of Area 51, the highly classified Air Force facility long rumored to house extraterrestrial artifacts, remain unseen.

Despite millions responding to the public Facebook event "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," Nevada authorities say about 40 people gathered at the gates before being confronted and dispersed by law enforcement.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's office, one arrest was made — not for an attempt at freeing an alien, but for public urination.

Ten days before the planned raid, two Dutch tourists were arrested after being found trespassing on Department of Energy land near Area 51.

"They said they saw the no trespassing signs at the Mercury Highway entrance to the Nevada National Security Site, but they wanted to look at the facility," said the Nye County Sheriff's Office on their Facebook.

Since then, the two men were sentenced to a year in county jail, which was suspended in favor of a three-day imprisonment and a monetary fine.

In an interview with NPR, Matty Roberts, the creator of the event, discouraged potential visitors from actually going to Area 51.

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"I'm really trying to direct people away from actually going towards the military base because that both is dangerous, and it's a national security threat," said Roberts. "So I'm trying to direct people towards the safer option of just going to one of these mini parties that's being set up."

Roberts is referring to AlienStock and Storm Area 51 Basecamp, two "music festivals" that capitalize on the popularity of the original Facebook event. The two gatherings are hosted in Las Vegas and Hiko respectively.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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