New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the creation of a new “anti-terror strike force” Thursday that will admittedly be used to target protesters.

According to Bratton, the 350-person “Strategic Response Group,” which is expected to receive funding from the Department of Homeland Security, will focus in on “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities.”

“It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,” Bratton said.

Using such foreign terror attacks as justification, Bratton stated that the elite group would be specifically trained in the use of “high-tech weaponry.”

“They’ll be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Bratton said. “They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”

Instead of only responding to alleged threats, the strike force will be tasked with permanently patrolling the city, “building relationships” with the community in the process.

“They never have a chance to really have time to build relationships, to work on the problems in these distressed neighborhoods,” Bratton claimed.

The unit is expected to cover multiple areas throughout the city after an initial pilot program in Manhattan and Queens, an idea Bratton believes will be widely received by New York City residents.

Bratton’s casual comparison of protests and violent terrorist plots is indicative of the government’s view on First Amendment-protected activity.

Leaked Department of Defense documents obtained by the ACLU in 2009 revealed that the federal government has consistently labeled protest as “low-level terrorism.”

Although Bratton failed to mention what specific “high-tech weapons” would be used, it is possible the unit will utilize equipment such as LRAD sound cannons and Stingray cell phone interceptors.

Given the state’s well-noted stance on protest, political groups from across the spectrum will undoubtedly be targeted.

A leaked New York State Counter Terrorism Bulletin provided exclusively to Infowars last June revealed that several peaceful Second Amendment groups in opposition to gun control were being targeted by law enforcement.

Despite Bratton’s claims regarding terrorism, the growing backlash from activists against law enforcement, linked directly to cases such as the choking death of Eric Garner, will almost certainly take center stage for the new unit.

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