Friday, December 01, 2023
Web Desk

WATCH: Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree lighting

NYPD prepared in advance for potential security threats citing precedent for terrorist activity and mass gatherings

Web Desk

A group of at least 500 pro-Palestine protesters disrupted the lighting of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree on Wednesday night, according to ABC News.

The protesters gathered outside the News Corp building for an hour at 47th Street and Sixth Avenue. They unfurled a flag and attempted to push towards a tree, but were stopped by police and barricades.

The group then reversed course, causing a crush, scuffles, and seven arrests, including six adults and one juvenile.

A 30-year-old Tasfia Islam who belongs to Queens was charged with felony criminal mischief, five others for obstructing governmental administration, and a 15-year-old boy received a juvenile report and was released to a guardian.

Islam was charged with knocking a cell phone out of a person's hand, while the other five received desk appearance tickets for court.

Thousands attended Midtown's holiday celebration as the 80-foot-tall Norway spruce was lit for the season.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) prepared in advance for potential security threats, citing a precedent for terrorist activity and holiday-related events or mass gatherings.

According to an NYPD threat assessment obtained by ABC News, "The US continues to face a heightened and dynamic risk environment from a variety of extremists amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and malicious actors may view mass gatherings, iconic locations and high-profile events as targets of opportunity during the holiday season."

"We allow people to exercise their first amendment, but by no means do we allow anyone to come out here to do hate, crime or assault," said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.

Rockefeller Centre has implemented street closures, as cars will not be allowed on the streets between 11am and 12am daily.

These restrictions are meant to allow pedestrians to enjoy the holiday season and other festive sites on East 51st and 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, which will remain in effect until New Year's Day.