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All NYPD officers to report in uniform after ex-Hamas chief calls for global protests

The department has cancelled all time-off for officers on Friday in response to potential threats, according to an internal message obtained by US outlets

Mike Bedigan
Friday 13 October 2023 06:03 BST
Pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian protesters rally outside Israeli consulate in NYC

Members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) have been ordered to report in uniform on Friday, following calls for global protests by an ex-Hamas chief.

The department has cancelled all time-off for officers on the day, in response to the potential threats, according to an internal message obtained by ABC News and other US outlets.

“All uniformed members of the service are to perform duty in the uniform of the day - effective immediately and until further notice, all uniformed members of the service, in every rank, will perform duty in the uniform of the day and be prepared for deployment,” ABC reported.

The action comes in response to a statement from Khaled Meshaal, who served as chief of Hamas from 2004 to 2017, in which he called on the Islamic world to stage the protests.

“[We must] head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday,” Meshaal said in a recorded statement sent to Reuters.

A statement from the NYPD, shared with The Independent, read: “The NYPD’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau deploys a wide array of resources to protect the city based on events unfolding here and around the world.

“This includes high-visibility resources like the Critical Response Command and Counterterrorism officers, as well as our Intelligence Division personnel.

“Given the situation unfolding in Israel, we have surged resources to sensitive locations out of an abundance of caution and to ensure that all New Yorkers stay safe.”

It comes as the violent conflict between Hamas and Israel reached its sixth day, with more than 1,000 casualties reported on both sides. Protests have been staged around the world in major cities including London and New York since the outbreak.

On Monday, protesters from both sides of the conflict rallied at the Israeli consulate in New York, forcing police intervention. Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Weiner of the NYPD Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division said Friday’s protests were being referred to by some groups online as “a global day of rage”.

"We're trying to make sure that violence doesn't manifest on the streets of New York City," she said, per ABC.

"There's the part that you see, which involves a lot of officers, some of our counterterrorism officers, our Critical Response Command folks who are high visibility patrols, heavy weapons armed and trained responding to locations throughout the city, schools, houses of worship, sensitive locations.

Pro-Palestine protests in New York (The Independent)

"And then there's the intelligence side, which is the part that you don't see-the online monitoring for threats and making sure that we can anticipate whether there's any reflection back to the city based on the overseas events."

Earlier this week, NYC mayor Eric Adams condemned pro-Hamas protesters gathered in Times Square after one was reportedly seen brandishing a swastika, decribing them as “disgusting”.

On Monday he said: “Throughout the day, I’ve been monitoring the protest that started in Times Square and that moved through our streets to outside the Israeli Consulate General’s Office in New York.”

“At a moment when innocent people are being slaughtered and children kidnapped in Israel, it is disgusting that this group of extremists would show support for terrorism. I reject this. New York City rejects this.

“Do not use our streets to spread your hate,” he added.

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