NEW YORK CITY - Protests led by pro-Palestinian groups erupted Wednesday night near the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in Midtown Manhattan, leading to seven people being taken into custody.
Organizers had originally called for supporters to "flood" the Rockefeller Center tree lighting.
Pro-Palestinian Americans gather in front of the News Corp. to protest annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)
But SkyFOX captured hundreds of demonstrators rallying outside the News Corp. building – which houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post – on the nearby corner of 47th Street and 6th Avenue.
A few protesters were seen on video getting into brief scuffles with the NYPD before being subdued. Seven people were taken into custody. They could be issued summonses, or could face arrest after an investigation, police said.
Chants of "Shame on You" could be heard from some parts of the crowd. Police and protesters also got into a shoving match as the NYPD tried to set up barriers to keep protesters back.
SkyFOX captured what appeared to be a poster displaying a swastika that reads "Israeli military."
SkyFOX also captured what appeared to be a poster displaying a swastika that reads "Israeli military." Another video shows a person holding a burning NYPD hat as crowds cheer.
Instagram pages Within Our Lifetime, with 137K followers, and Hidden Palestine, with 315K followers, shared a call to action for the "Flood the Tree Lighting for Gaza" rally earlier this week.
"This year, Jerusalem's 13 official churches + the Bethlehem Municipality itself has called to suspend Christmas celebrations in mourning for the ongoing genocide in Gaza," the post read.
The New York City Police Department assured that teams were prepared to handle the protests.
"We do anticipate that there will be protests in the city on Wednesday — to include around the area of the tree lighting — and at future gatherings around the city in the days and weeks to come, as we have seen over the past seven weeks. 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 spokesperson said in a statement.
The iconic Christmas tree was lit by more than 50,000 multicolored lights Wednesday night.
The massive tree — a 12 ton, 80-foot-tall Norway spruce from upstate New York — was illuminated in Rockefeller Center by about five miles of LED string lights and topped with a 900-pound star covered in three million gleaming crystals.
Mayor Eric Adams took part in the lighting before a cheering throng and a chorus sang "Joy to the World."
An opening night ceremony featured appearances by Cher, Barry Manilow and Kelly Clarkson, among others. The Radio City Rockettes also performed.
Starting in the 1930s, the Christmas tree tradition has drawn thousands of visitors to the city each year during the holiday season.
The tree will remain lit from 5 a.m. to midnight every day until Jan. 13. On Christmas day, it'll be lit 24 hours.
Demonstrators interrupt Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
On Thursday, the NYPD took multiple demonstrators into custody following several disruptions of the parade.
One pair of activists was seen along 6th Avenue disrupting the parade. They were wearing white bodysuits with anti-colonialism messages written on them.
In another instance near W. 55th St., protesters were wearing shirts that read "Free Palestine." Palestinian flags were seen on the ground as they were led away by police.
Floats, bands and balloons had to be diverted. The identities of those involved were not immediately available.
Library vandalized during pro-Palestinian Thanksgiving protest
The New York Public Library's flagship location was vandalized during a pro-Palestinian protest on Thanksgiving, with the estimated cost of damages reportedly resulting in thousands of dollars.
Some of the demonstrators allegedly put blood-red hand prints on the exterior of the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, commonly known as the Main Branch, in Midtown. Spray paint on the facade appeared to read "Free Palestine."
The ornate Fifth Avenue building, guarded by its world-famous marble lions, opened in 1911 and is now a designated landmark.
The estimated cost of repairs is around $75,000.
Some of the graffiti-covered delicately carved portions of the landmark structure and will be difficult to clean without causing more damage, according to a report in Gothamist.
Thousands march up 6th Avenue on Black Friday
Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters descended Friday in Midtown, marching from Washington Square up 6th Avenue. The NYPD dedicated a large police presence and resources to keep the peace.
The protesters swarmed around Black Friday shoppers, chanting, "While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping!" – demanding their attention.
The rally was organized, with online flyers circulating in big black letters, "Shut it down". The meeting spot was Washington Square Park at 10 a.m.
Thousands of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold banners and Palestinian flags as they take over New York City Streets after gathering at Washington Square Park on Black Friday. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)
As the crowd swelled, tensions swirled. The NYPD, both uniformed and in plains clothes, kept a close eye on the protesters, and most likely were informed they intended to march to Herald Square.
The view from SkyFOX showed how large the crowd had become by early afternoon, marching down 6th Avenue with Black Friday shoppers just blocks ahead.
Demonstrators block Manhattan Bridge on Sunday
Hundreds of Jewish protesters demanding a permanent cease-fire in Gaza shut down the Manhattan Bridge Sunday in both directions.
The protest came during an already travel nightmare for drivers.
Traffic came to a complete standstill on one of the busiest travel days, as many New Yorkers headed home after the busy Thanksgiving holiday.
Loud honking and yelling was heard as cars piled up on the bridge.
Associated press wire services helped contribute to this report.