Twitch streamer's giveaway sparks mayhem in Union Square

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Saturday, August 5, 2023
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UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Thousands of people overran Union Square Park and surrounded lanes of traffic Friday as a popular Twitch streamer held a video game giveaway.

As of 4:30 p.m. the situation remains out of control.

NYPD sources tell Eyewitness News they do not want to arrest people and they do not want to escalate the situation further.

Over the last few days, Kai Cenat, one of the most popular streamers on the video game streaming website Twitch, announced that he would give away Playstation 5 video game consoles at 4 p.m. in Union Square.

Thousands of people showed up and took over the park and the roads bordering it as police struggled to contain them.

Upon first arriving over the scene, Eyewitness News reporter Shannon Sohn in Newscopter 7 reported seeing a group of police officers holding up pieces of plywood and taking cover behind cars that were stuck on 14th Street because of the crowd as they were pelted by objects thrown from the mass of people.

Kai Cenat announced the giveaway on his Instagram. CeFaan Kim has the latest from Union Square.

There was construction happening near the 14th Street subway station and people in the crowd had grabbed and were throwing paint cans and other equipment.

Several people climbed on top of the gazebo which covers the subway as well as the George Washington Statue, which depicts the former president riding a horse.

The MTA announced that 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W subway trains were bypassing Union Square station. Service has since resumed.

A number of drivers were trapped in their cars as they were surrounded by the crowd and 14th Street was shut down as police set up a barricade of officers.

The sheer number of people and their seeming desire to get a glimpse of Cenat and a group of people with him which created a dangerous situation of masses of people moving and shoving.

Later, an SUV believed to be carrying Cenat drove away from the scene on 17th Street while about a dozen people were hanging on the side and clinging to the top as the SUV.

Many of them were seen falling from the vehicle.

The SUV believed to be carrying Kai Cenat was spotting by NewsCopter 7 whizzing away from Union Square after a social media giveaway sparked mayhem Friday evening.

Shortly after that a bus on 14th Street became the focus of a large part of the crowd as many seemed to believe that Cenat was inside the bus.

This is breaking news. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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