NEW YORK (AP) — Police in New York City are struggling to control a crowd of thousands of people who gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square for an internet personality’s supposed videogame console giveaway that got out of hand.
Aerial TV news footage Friday showed a surging, tightly packed crowd climbing on vehicles, hurling chairs, throwing punches and scaling structures in the park. Shouting teenagers swung objects at car windows and ran through the streets.
Traffic was blocked by the crowd on several streets. A growing number of police officers could be seen trying to control the gathering. Some people climbed on top of a moving vehicle, falling off as it sped away. Others pounded on the side of a city bus. People could be seen climbing on top of another bus and jumping up and down.
The NYPD didn’t immediately have information on injuries or arrests. Numerous people could be seen in hand restraints, sitting on the sidewalks. Police were forming lines in the street, trying to direct the crowd, which periodically broke out in a run.
On his Instagram feed, the streamer Kai Cenat had an image promoting a giveaway at 4 p.m. Friday in the park. Some young people leaving the park said they had come expecting a giveaway of a computer for livestreaming and a new PlayStation.
Cenat was reportedly detained following the unrest, according to WNBC Reporter Melissa Colorado.
Cenat, 21, is a video creator with 6.5 million followers on the platform Twitch, where he regularly livestreams. He also boasts 4 million subscribers on YouTube, where he posts daily life and comedy vlogs ranging from “Fake Hibachi Chef Prank!” to his most recent video, “I Rented Us Girlfriends In Japan!”
His 299 YouTube videos have amassed more than 276 million views among them. In December, he was crowned streamer of the year at the 12th annual Streamy Awards. Messages sent to his publicist, management company and email address for business inquiries were not immediately returned.
Police were using metal barricades to try to push the crowd back and using loudspeakers to warn the crowd “This gathering is unlawful. You are ordered to disperse.”