(NEW YORK) — Increased police patrols and extra National Guard troops have been called in to New York in preparation for any protests that may interrupt Wednesday night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Though there has been no formal announcement about planned protests in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the National Guard will have an “increased presence” throughout the city, in train stations including Penn Station and PATH terminals as well as JFK and LaGuardia airports.
“New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration for New Yorkers, and an increased security presence will help ensure that tonight remains a safe and festive time for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Increased security is a regular occurrence around New Years, with an estimated 1,000,000 people expected to flood Times Square ahead of the ball drop, but tensions are heightened this year after two police officers were fatally shot in Brooklyn on Dec. 20.
Cuomo did not specify exactly how many guardsmen will be in New York City but did say that one unit, the 22-member 24th Civil Support Team, will continue their regular support of the New York Police Department to deal with chemical, biological or radiological hazards.
The NYPD has assessed 70 threats made against police officers after the Brooklyn shooting, which led to 16 arrests.
New York is not the only city that is bracing for protests against police brutality during Wednesday evening’s celebrations.
Officials in Boston have urged activists to postpone a planned “die-in” protest, saying that the city’s family-friendly “First Night” event is not an appropriate venue to express their concerns.
Unusually cold weather could also cause problems for event organizers across the country, as strong winds could lead to cancelled fireworks in Las Vegas as they could send debris into the crowds.
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