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Protests Prompt Increased Security Ahead of New Year’s Eve Parties

ABC News – by MEGHAN KENEALLY

Protests against police brutality are planned across the country on New Year’s eve with police in Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York preparing for demonstrations.

Activist groups in New York City are planning to march at 9 p.m. ET from Union Square up to the city’s formal New Year’s celebration in Times Square and hope to get as close as possible before reaching police barricades.  

Other protesters are being advised to take signs into Times Square early and pull them out when the ball drops at midnight, as well as chanting “We Can’t Breathe!” and “Black Lives Matter!” at the top of every hour.

The protests are a continuation of the outcry against police brutality that came after the grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

The NYPD has assessed 70 threats made against police officers after the Brooklyn shooting, which led to 16 arrests.

The National Guard will have an “increased presence” at transport hubs in New York City, according to a statement released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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 NYPD to deal with chemical, biological or radiological hazards.

The National Guard has boosted its security at New York City transportation hubs every year since the 9/11 terror attacks.

A group of about 75 protesters marched from downtown St. Louis to the police headquarters today while chanting outside the entrance. Several people stormed the building and five people were arrested for trespassing and one was arrested for third degree assault after an incident with a city marshal in the building.

Photos posted on social media showed protests in Ferguson, Missouri, today.

A press officer for the Los Angeles Police Department told ABC News that they had seen social media reports that a protest is being planned in front of their headquarters around 3 p.m. PT today and protesters may gather for a march starting near the city’s New Year’s celebrations in Grant Park.

Officer Drake Madison said that there are no specific plans to increase their patrols as a result of the protests, however. “We’re always available and have enough resources available anyway,” Madison said.

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.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/protests-prompt-increased-security-ahead-years-eve-parties/story?id=27927793#.VKSbTqnziZ0.email

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