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    NYPD prepares for protests at Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, list of holiday street closures

    NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Supporters of Palestine are planning to protest during the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony Wednesday night.

    But the NYPD is still encouraging families to come out saying they won’t allow any demonstrations to disrupt the celebration.

    The tree is dark now but by 10 p.m. Wednesday, it will be lit and ready for Christmas.

    That means many people will be in Midtown so the NYPD is prepared for the increased possibility of security threats.

    This 80-foot-tall Norway spruce will be lit for the holiday season, and tens of thousands of people are expected to come watch and kick off the holiday season.

    Officials though do say there is a precedent when it comes to terrorist activity and holiday-related events or mass gatherings.

    Specifically given the Israel-Hamas war, police say the U.S., and New York, face heightened risk, and they are monitoring chatter promoting violence so NYPD will have a robust presence.

    Also happening Wednesday, the streets around Rockefeller Center will be closed to cars, between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. every day, opening up the cross streets on East 51st and 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues to pedestrians to view the tree and enjoy the other festive sites this holiday season.

    Those changes will remain in effect through New Year’s Day.

    Fifth Avenue will also be fully open to pedestrians between 48th and 59th on the first three Sundays in December.

    Again, given the amount of people expected in the area, today and throughout the season, NYPD still says there’s no specific or credible threat, but it’s important to be vigilant.

    We do know a pro-Palestinian protest is scheduled for this evening before the tree lighting ceremony and police say after protestors were arrested at the Thanksgiving Day parade last week, they’re prepared for possible disruptions.

    RELATED | Rock Center Tree Lighting 2023: Everything to know


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