Breaking Down the Area 51 “Raid”


Anthony Ponton, Features Editor

Area 51 is a government base in Nevada, which is known for the conspiracy theories of aliens and what is inside the base. After all the theories, a “raid” was planned for Friday, Septemeber 20th, 2019 at 3 am. What began as a joke  became more serious on social media with millions of people planning to “storm” Area 51 with their “Naruto runs (more about Naruto runs later in this story).”

A screenshot of the, now viral, Facebook event

Area 51 is a government base in Nevada that is known for its alien conspiracies since the 1950s. During the last 70 years,  people have wondered what was inside and what secrets the government has been keeping, specifically about alien life. The mystery is one of the reasons the “Storm Area 51” event became one of the biggest viral events of 2019.

It all started in July 2019, where twitch streamer, Matty Roberts, had thought of a joke Facebook event to raid Area 51 and discover its secrets. According to the Facebook event, raid attendees were to storm the compound using a tactic from the well-known animated show Naruto. People were to implement a move called a “Naruto run,” which entails participants running at an angle, headfirst, with their arms straight by their sides. Within the next few days, the post started to blow up, with around 1 million people saying they were interested and 1.5 million saying they were going to attend the event and storm the Area 51 compound. This post also sparked a ton of memes throughout the internet for the months until September 20th, which made it even more popular.

Area 51 Raid attendees passing the time

This event was a joke in the eyes of many, but not to the government.  They wanted to make sure nothing would happen to the government base. In August, the creator of the event received a visit from the FBI and was asked a list of questions. Also, a U.S. military spokesperson said about the raid, “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.” The creator ended up changing the event to t a festival near area 51 called “Alienstock.” A couple of days after the change, he left the event.

Right before the event, people, mostly locals, set up festival booths that had food, drinks, games, merchandise, and other alien-related activities.

Many attendees mimicked protest strategies by making signs

On September 20th, 2019, according to CBS News,  approximately 1,500 people showed up to the festivals and 500 people showed up to the gate. The attendees showed up costumes related to aliens with signs that mimic a protest. While most enjoyed themselves without problems, two people got arrested for violating the rules of the facility, which state that you are allowed to show up to the gate, but not any further.

The event didn’t have any naruto runners, no rock throwers, and no raid. The event became what many expected, just to be a huge joke. Dana Student Marco Fistikoglu says, “I feel like a couple of hundred people would show up, not enough for a raid, and the ones there probably wouldn’t even do it.”

The area 51 raid, while being entertaining, ended up being another viral event, but keep practicing those Naruto runs.