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Need Proof That Terrorists Are Winning? Witnesses Thought This Flash Mob in Spain Was a Brutal Attack.

Five German were arrested for organizing a flash mob after witnesses thought it was a terrorist attack.

MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  General view of "Solo Quimica" Flash Mob during the 18th Malaga Film Festival on April 24, 2015 in Malaga, Spain.  (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: General view of "Solo Quimica" Flash Mob during the 18th Malaga Film Festival on April 24, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

It’s 2016 and the world is so completely and entirely overwhelmed with fear that no one is allowed to have any fun.

Five German women appear to have missed the memo about this cancellation of all enjoyable and amusing events when they tried to organize a flash mob in the northern town of Costa Brava on Tuesday night. A flash mob — you know, one of those events where groups of strangers gather and perform a dance or skit together in order to actually bring happiness and joy to the community around them.

It didn’t take long for total chaos to break out after passersby, who a few years ago may have gathered in awe and amazement at this performance that appeared out of thin air, mistook it for a terrorist attack. Witnesses thought selfie sticks were weapons. Then they imagined they heard gunshots and called the police. Children were sobbing and adults were hiding under tables. Eleven people were treated for minor injuries and heart palpitations. Three of them wound up in the hospital.

And this is all because a few German tourists who thought it would be funny to have a large group of people pretend to spot a celebrity, then chase the imaginary person around town and convince others along the way that there was someone important just ahead of them around the corner.

The five women, who have not been identified, were arrested and charged with disturbing public order.

Then the president of Spain’s Catalonia region took to Twitter to remind them about the official no-fun policy and thank the police and regional council for their quick response to the disturbance.

“Some things should not be joked about,” he wrote. Apparently pretending to see a celebrity is one of them.

Photo credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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