French officials are expecting hundreds of doomsday believers to descend on the small village of Bugarach in preparation for the imminent end of the world.
According to some theories, the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar on December 21, 2012, will mark the end of the world as we know it.
French legend states that on this date, the Pic de Bugarach, the highest summit in the Corbières Mountains in southwest France, will burst open, releasing aliens who will rescue humans in the vicinity of the mountain and whisk them off to safety in their spaceships.
French officials have barred access to the town and blocked the entrance to the mountain, fearing that hordes of new age believers, curious onlookers and journalists will descend on the site in the weeks leading up to December 21.
More than 100 policemen and firemen will be deployed to the site to help manage the crowd.
Police spokesmen Eric Freysselinard said, “We are expecting a few people who believe this is the end of the world and people who are just curious. Above all, we are expecting lots of journalists.”
The Mayan people mostly come from Central American countries including Guatemala, whose government has recently denied the popular belief that the ancient Mayans thought that December 21 would bring about the end of humanity.
The country is holding a festival to celebrate the new beginning of humanity on December 21, with performers including Elton John and U2's Bono scheduled to headline.