NEW YORK (PIX11) — Protesters rallying and calling for the freedom of Palestinians in Times Square Friday afternoon may cause delays and traffic in Manhattan.

Hundreds of people were expected to turn out on Broadway between 41st and 42nd streets beginning around 3 p.m., according to the community-led organization Within Our Lifetime.

The NYPD has increased its police presence around the city as a precaution. Police officers were told to report to their shifts on Friday in uniform. The department said there are no credible threats at this time. 

Tensions are high across the city over the Israel-Hamas war, and rallies have been held in New York City on both sides of the conflict. During peaceful protests in the city, Israeli and Palestinian supporters have engaged in several heated standoffs.

Khaled Meshaal, who led Hamas until 2017, called for mass protests around the world in a statement sent to Reuters.

“[We must] head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday,” Meshaal said.

More than 2,800 people have been killed on both sides of the conflict, including at least 27 Americans. The number of missing Americans rose to 14, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

Israel’s military urged all civilians in Gaza’s north to move to the south, according to spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari — an order that the United Nations said affects over 1 million people.

Already, at least 423,000 people, nearly one in five Gazans, have been forced from their homes by Israeli airstrikes, the U.N. said Thursday.

The U.N. called on Israel to reverse the order, saying that the mass evacuations could be calamitous.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.

Charline Charles is a digital journalist from Brooklyn who has covered local news along with culture and arts in the New York City area since 2019. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.