Police arrest 65 people after Kai Cenat’s giveaway event sees people climb on vehicles, hurl chairs and throw punches.
Thousands of people overran a New York City neighbourhood as a popular livestreamer’s giveaway event descended into chaos, with some climbing on vehicles and throwing bottles and chairs.
Crowds packed into Union Square on Friday after Kai Cenat, a well-known livestreamer on Twitch and YouTube, announced earlier there would be a “huge giveaway” at the park at the landmark intersection.
News footage from before the event showed a tightly packed crowd running through the streets, scaling structures in the park and obstructing traffic. Some people were flinging bottles and chairs, climbing onto the roof of a subway entrance, standing on top of cars and unloading a fire extinguisher.
Video from a TV news helicopter later showed Cenat in a black SUV as people mobbed the vehicle.
Police officers had regained control over much of the area by Friday evening, but small skirmishes were still breaking out, with young people knocking over barricades and throwing bottles and even a flowerpot at officers. Officers were seen chasing people and wresting them to the ground.
Police said they arrested 65 people, including 30 minors.
Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, the top-ranking uniformed officer in the New York City Police Department, said police had filled a city bus with people taken into custody and several officers and attendees were injured.
“Individuals in the park began to commit acts of violence towards the police and the public,” Maddrey told a press conference. “Our officers were attacked. We were crushed. We were pushed.”
Maddrey said Cenat was being questioned by police and could face charges.
Cenat said in a video shared with this followers on Thursday that the giveaway would include computers and Playstation 5 game consoles.
Named “Streamer of the Year” in 2022 at the Streamy Awards, Cenat has 6.5 million followers on Twitch and 4 million subscribers on YouTube.