HAREN, Netherlands – Several thousand people flooded a tiny Dutch town late on Friday after a schoolgirl’s Facebook invitation to her 16th birthday party went viral. The crowd ultimately turned violent, and riot police arrived to disperse them.
In the Dutch town of Haren, located in northern Netherlands, roughly 3,000 people responded to a viral Facebook invitation (sent to 30,000) from a girl announcing her birthday party, according to NBC News. The party was supposed to be small scale, friends and family only, but the girl’s Facebook event was not set to private and the invitation went viral.
“She posted the invitation on Facebook and sent it to friends, who then sent it to other friends and soon it spread like wildfire across the Internet,” Melanie Zwama, Groningen police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency according to the BBC.
To promote the event, a Twitter account and a YouTube video were created.
Photos from the event show members of the mob wearing shirts that read “Project X,” possible a reference to the film of the same name in which high school seniors throw a party meant for 50 that quickly grows out of their control as word spreads.
After the gathering turned violent, 600 riot police arrived and arrested 20 people, according to local reports. Three people were seriously injured, while three others suffered more minor injuries. Shops had been vandalized and looted, a car was set on fire, and street signs and lampposts were damaged before police managed to disperse the crowd.
Happy 16th birthday.