New York’s Union Square Park on Friday became a violent scene as police struggled to control a mob of thousands of people who came out on streets attracted by promise of free PlayStation 5s by a popular Twitch streamer.
Kai Cenat, a Twitch influencer and Fanum, a streamer, persuade their followers to gather at Union Square at 4 pm as they were to distribute various Sony PlayStation 5 game consoles.
The two made the announcement on a social media post which went viral by 3 pm and in an hour the Union Square Park was crowded with people long time before Cenat had to arrive, said NYPD officials said at a news conference on Friday.
The crowd became violent and started targeting police and other public with rocks, bottles, paint cans and other debris and lighting fireworks, said the police. Police arrested a number of rioters with the number not ascertained.
According to the police, the mob was too violent for Cenat to be safe there so he was shifted from the place and he remained in custody on Friday evening.
At a news conference, Jeff Maddrey, NYPD Chief of Department said, “People were suffering out here — it was uncontrolled — and a lot of young people got hurt. This speaks to the power of social media and the danger of social media.”
Police also said that though they were successful in largely removing the violent crowd by 6pm but were still working to remove scattered gatherings throughout Manhattan.
TwitchTracker’s record suggests that the most-subscribed streamer on Twitch is Cenat who has over 1000,000 subscribers.