The Hague - Police in a sleepy Dutch town braced on Thursday for an invasion of party-goers after a teenager's birthday invite on Facebook went viral, prompting thousands of replies.
Officers in Haren near the northern city of Groningen were on high alert after the schoolgirl posted a message inviting friends to her 16th birthday party on Friday, but forgot to mark it as a private event.
The situation is potentially so out of control that authorities are mulling holding their own party to entertain, and contain, the overflow.
“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,” Groningen police spokeswoman Melanie Zwama told AFP.
“Now thousands of people have indicated that they might be attending,” she said, adding: “We are taking extra measures, but what they are I'm not at liberty to tell you.”
Dutch mass-market daily De Telegraaf reported that 24 000 people received the invitation, of whom 2 400 already responded that they would come to Haren, population 18 000, for the party.
The paper said the Haren town council has dusted off emergency plans should its leafy residential streets be “flooded by party-goers”.
Several websites have already sprung up dedicated to the party and referring to 2012 US teen film “Project X” - about a suburban birthday party getting out of control after an invitation goes viral.
One site referred to Friday's party as “Project X Haren”, counting down the seconds to the event and claiming 150 000 people have been invited. It also published the party's address, adding “By all means bring some friends!”
Another site is already selling T-shirts for 23 euros ($29) emblazoned with “Project X - Haren” and featuring a crude logo of a man on all fours drinking from a bottle.
But police have posted on the same site: “This is an urgent call by police and the town council. Do not come to Haren on Friday night. Police are ready to stop any disorder.”
Haren was on Thursday considering holding its own party to “halt any irregularities” at the birthday party, Dutch news agency ANP said.
“But it stressed there are no concrete plans as of yet, although it would be considered as an option,” the report added.
Previously “Project X” parties have run riot in different parts of the world including Germany, Australia and especially the United States, where teens wrecked an unoccupied Texas home causing damage of up to $100,000. - Sapa-AFP