NEW YORK (WABC)—— Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators and counter-protesters rallied in Times Square on Friday afternoon.
As of 3:30 p.m., two people were arrested after a scuffle broke out at West 35th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Protesters are expected to leave Times Square by 5 p.m. and head to the Israeli consulate.
Our Lives, a Palestinian-led community group in New York City, organized the event to call for unequivocal support for Gaza.
Even as the Middle East war between Israel and Hamas escalates, tensions are rising at home.
Friday is the International Day of Action for Palestine, and the city is increasing police presence and patrols.
Heavily armed counterterrorism and strategic response officers were in Times Square on Thursday night. NYPD officials also pay close attention to radical groups and their online speech to guard against attacks by lone wolves or sympathizers.
At a press conference Thursday night, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul emphasized that the safety of New Yorkers is of greatest concern.
“We have directed the NYPD to provide additional resources to schools and houses of worship to ensure their safety and ensure that our city remains a peaceful place,” Adams said.
There have been pro-Israeli counter-protesters at other pro-Palestinian demonstrations, including one in Times Square last Sunday.
Officials said there was no specific credible threat in New York City, but every officer was in uniform as a precaution.
“We are working hard to ensure that violence does not occur on the streets of New York City,” said Deputy Director of Intelligence Rebecca Ulam Weiner. & Counterterrorism.
Additionally, the MTA said there will be additional police presence at major transit hubs and throughout the transit system on Friday. Passengers will not only see more security but also more messages asking them to stay alert.
Hochul said not only the city, but the state will remain on active alert. She said state police were “in full gear” and the National Guard had been ordered to patrol major transportation hubs.
“There’s no reason to be afraid,” Hochul added.
State police have been mobilized and the National Guard has been ordered to patrol major transportation hubs.
ALSO READ | Emotions run high as college students rally for Palestine amid Israel war
* Get Eyewitness News
* More New York City News
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News