The New York City Police Department is bracing for protests at the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on Wednesday evening.
Pro-Palestinian groups said in social media posts they are planning to “flood the tree lighting” in support of Gaza. The rally is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Rockefeller Center, hours ahead of the lighting of the tree. NBC begins its live broadcast show at 8 p.m. with the tree lighting just before 10 p.m.
“The NYPD will be on hand to protect the tree lighting and all those attending, and we will not tolerate disruption or any threats to public safety,” an NYPD Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau spokesperson said in a statement.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting falls on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The Within Our Lifetime group posted on Instagram: “Palestine is the birthplace of Christianity, Jesus was a Palestinian, how can celebrations go on as normal when his birthplace is being attacked.”
The group encourages supporters to “Bring flags, signs, and keffiyehs.”
The NYPD spokesman said it “deploys a wide array of resources to protect the city based on events unfolding here and around the world” and anticipates there will be “future gatherings around the city in the days and weeks to come, as we have seen over the past seven weeks.”