Thousands in Central Park panic after barrier collapse mistaken for gunfire

NEW YORK  — The collapse of a police barrier sent thousands of people fleeing in a panic in Central Park, afraid of possible gunshots at a politically-charged show.

Big-name personalities from Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake to Janet Jackson and John Legend urged spectators to get involved in the nation's troubled politics.

Authorities quickly assured the crowd they were safe after the barrier fell Saturday evening.

Burning social justice issues dominated the event that started on a sunny afternoon.

About 60,000 people filled the park's Great Lawn for the Global Citizen Festival, also awaiting Cardi B, The Weeknd and other pop stars.

Some speakers asked the audience to call their Congress members to react to this week's Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.