Sunday, 23 September 2012

Facebook party invite leads to riots in Dutch town

Facebook party invite leads to riots in Dutch town

Published on Saturday September 22, 2012 Associated Press
AMSTERDAM—Thousands of revellers descended on a small Dutch town, sparking a riot after a birthday party invitation posted on Facebook went viral, authorities said Saturday.

Prosecutor Hessel Schuth said 34 people were arrested Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday morning and would be prosecuted for public order offences. Several people were injured, but none were believed to be seriously hurt.
“Scum ran amok in our town,” said Rob Bats, mayor of Haren, 185 kilometres north of Amsterdam.
“An innocent invitation on Facebook for a party led to serious rioting, destruction, plundering, arson and injuries in the middle of Haren,” he said.
Media reports said six people were hurt, including three seriously. Reports said shops were vandalized and looted, a car set on fire, and street signs and lampposts damaged before police broke up the crowds.
Up to 600 riot police were on the scene during the disturbances, according to one media report.
Some 30,000 people received the invitation from a girl announcing her 16th birthday party on Facebook, according to media reports.
The party was intended to be a small-scale celebration, but the girl did not set her Facebook event to private and the invitation went viral.
Reports said as many as 3,000 people showed up in the town of 18,000.
Haren had been bracing for the event for most of the week.
Bats said an initial analysis showed a core group of rioters “were very violent and well-prepared and deliberately sought confrontation” with hundreds of police who had been dispatched to the town amid fears of trouble.
Some of the people arriving in Haren on Friday wore T-shirts emblazoned with “Project X Haren,” a reference to the film Project X that portrayed an out-of-control party.
On Saturday, another Facebook group sprang up called Project Clean-X Haren, urging people to help clear up the debris littering the town’s streets.

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