NEW YORK - Thousands gathered in Times Square on Friday to express their support for the people of Palestine and condemn Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza.
Protesters marched through the streets from Times Square to the Israeli Consulate, then to the United Nations, where at least two people were taken into custody by the NYPD.
Friday's protest was organized by a Palestinian-led community organization called "Within Our Lifetime," to show support for Gaza.
The NYPD spent the week preparing for Friday's protests, telling every officer to report to work today.
Protesters were surrounded by police, but despite the emotional and divisive nature of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of protesters were peaceful.
Palestinians are currently fleeing northern Gaza after Israel's military told some 1 million people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion in retaliation for Hamas' attack last week.
The U.N. warned that evacuating almost half of crowded Gaza's population would be calamitous, and it urged Israel to reverse the unprecedented directive.
A former Hamas leader had called for a "Day of Rage" in response to Israel's attacks on Gaza, putting Jewish communities in the U.S. and across the globe on edge.
Despite there being no reported credible threats, the NYPD deployed in heavy numbers Friday to reassure New Yorkers and deter any trouble.
In the nearly week-old war, the Gaza Health Ministry said Friday that roughly 1,900 people have been killed in the territory — more than half of them under the age of 18, or women. The Hamas assault last Saturday killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of whom were civilians, and roughly 1,500 Hamas militants were killed during the fighting, the Israeli government said.