(NEW YORK) — The New York City Police Department made a handful of arrests Wednesday evening several blocks from the annual tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center.
After rallying for at least an hour outside the News Corp building at 47th and 6th, a crowd of several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators unfurled a large flag and briefly tried to push its way north in the direction of the tree. A line of police and barricades prevented the movement.
When the group reversed course there was a crush of people, scuffles and some arrests. The group then moved southbound on 6th Avenue, away from the scene.
The NYPD previously said there would be a “heavy security presence” at the ceremony “to ensure all visitors enjoy the celebration safely.”
Ahead of the tree lighting, New York City police counterterrorism officials warned in a threat assessment advisory that protests prompted by the Israel-Hamas war could disrupt the annual event.
The confidential document, obtained by ABC News, came in the wake of a disruption by demonstrators at last week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Demonstrators dressed in white jumpsuits jumped barricades and ran into the street, temporarily halting the parade. They splashed fake blood and attempted to glue their hands to the pavement in order to disrupt the parade, the bulletin stated.
In videos posted online, they could be seen holding Palestinian flags and signs that said “genocide then, genocide now.” They were also heard yelling, “Viva, viva Palestina.”
The NYPD arrested 34 individuals in connection with the Thanksgiving Day incident on charges including harassment, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the document.
The assessment also noted that on Nov. 24, individuals protesting Israeli operations in Gaza disrupted a tree-lighting ceremony in Seattle.
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