After hours of relative calm in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Wednesday the city is “ready” for any potential unrest and said he fears that suggestions of voter fraud, whether by President Trump or the public, could further stoke tensions.
The Democratic mayor was asked during a Wednesday morning press briefing if he throughout the fears of unrest – which prompted some businesses and buildings to board up or even hire private security – were “overblown.”
“We gotta be always concerned and ready,” de Blasio responded on Wednesday. “So much emotion, so much passion, so much on the line. We’ve been through so much these last four years, of course, we have to be ready for any situation.”
Police in the Big Apple and several cities nationwide made preparations in the event that any protests turned violent or destructive. The New York Police Department confirmed to Fox News earlier this week that it had “contingency plans in place to freeze areas of Manhattan should wide-scale looting occur,” meaning the department would establish car- and pedestrian-free zones, if needed.
The mayor said any suggestion of fraud in the election process is “absolutely illegitimate and unfair.”
“That’s the thing that I obviously worry about could spark people to negative actions or to act out in some way,” he continued. “But if you’re talking about the facts on the ground, so far, we have to be satisfied that this country has sent a message that it wants a peaceful outcome.”
De Blasio later added: “So far so good.”
A police department spokesperson told Fox News early Wednesday the department did not make any protest-related arrests overnight.
The department directed its officers to be “prepared for deployment” beginning Oct. 26, and instructed hundreds of officers to come to work in uniform and ready for duty beginning on that date, officials said at the time.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a previously released internal memo he expected this would be “one of the most highly contested presidential elections in the modern era.”
On Wednesday morning, Shea told Spectrum NY1 the police department had already been made aware of multiple protests scheduled for later in the day, including one that’s expected to take place in and around Columbus Circle – just blocks from Trump Tower and steps from Trump International Hotel & Tower New York.
“We have to just be very fluid in our planning and expect the unexpected,” Shea said. “I think that’s what we’ve grown to do over the last couple [of] months and we’ll be ready for anything.”