TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In the interest of public safety, Florida law enforcement officials are increasing their presence across the state amid reports of a planned “National Day of Hate” targeting the Jewish community and other faith-based organizations.

Out of an abundance of caution, and “in response to the recent harassment against Florida’s Jewish and faith-based communities by hate groups,” FDLE and the Florida Fusion Center are “actively coordinating and increasing law enforcement presence to ensure any individual or group who criminally harasses or threatens violence against Florida’s faith-based community will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement agencies or by calling 855-FLA-SAFE. If there’s an emergency, the FDLE said you should call 911.

The FDLE said there were no known threats or protests planned in Florida at this time, but “there have been recent acts of violence toward the Jewish community, and we ask our citizens to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.”

The FDLE said it is in communication with law enforcement and will have an increased presence across the state to reinforce local efforts. An FDLE spokeswoman said additional resources were called for at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Violence, threats of violence and physical intimidation will not be tolerated against the Jewish community in Florida and has no place in our state. Such actions will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said in a statement. “FDLE is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to enhance response capabilities and ensure that Florida’s Jewish community is safe and well-supported.”

The Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast chapter has also been alerted to the “antisemitic groups” that are “planning a ‘National Day of Hate'” on Saturday. The organization said that some of the groups are were based in Florida and the Tampa Bay region, more specifically.

“They are encouraging their followers to disseminate flyers, hang banners, and even vandalize Jewish locations. In light of this, and because this unfortunately will fall on Shabbat, we strongly suggest that you be very aware of your surroundings,” the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast said in a statement. They encouraged residents, allies, and members of the Jewish community to report suspicious activity. “If you see something, say something!”

Residents are urged to not engage any individuals that participate in the “National Day of Hate,” and not to touch any evidence.

In an online statement, the Anti-Defamation League said the “Day of Hate” campaign is intended to intimidate and divide communities.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Jewish community — or any community — should be targeted by extremists spreading hate and alarm,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director said. “The hate groups behind this effort hope that we will be afraid and isolated. Instead, we are coming together in resolve and solidarity.”

The organization said it has been following recent attacks on the Jewish community, including demonstrations at a Florida Chabad congregation.

In the past week, ADL said it had tracked:

  • Shooting attacks against Jewish people in the streets of Los Angeles.
  • Antisemitic demonstrations in front of a Chabad in Florida.
  • Increases in the distribution of antisemitic propaganda in cities across the nation.
  • Neo-Nazi protestors in New York City spread vile antisemitism and conspiracy theories outside the Broadway revival of Parade, the play that tells the story of the false conviction and lynching of Leo Frank.

The ADL is asking Congress to increase security grants to houses of worship in light of what they say was “an attempt by white supremacist groups to organize coordinated antisemitic activity as a National Day of Hate” for the coming weekend of Feb. 25. “While ADL is not aware of any specific threats, we know that these groups are hoping for increased antisemitic flier distributions, small protests and graffiti.  We know this is frightening; it is completely unacceptable that any faith should be targeted in this way.”

The ADL said a protest on Feb. 17 by 15 individuals associated with the antisemitic group Goyim Defense League included propaganda being distributed across the state of Florida. The protest was in front of the Chabad of South Orlando, where those demonstrating were “holding signs and shouting slurs and obscenities at pedestrians and motorists for several hours.”

The next day, more protesters came, this time 10 people associated with neo-Nazi NatSoc Florida, joining in outside the Daytona International Speedway, using antisemitic banners on a pedestrian bridge and distributing more propaganda while “harassing pedestrians.”

In the evening, on Feb. 18, the same group used a projector to cast antisemitic messages on the stadium, including the phrase “Hitler was right,” then “then dispersed to distribute propaganda in nearby neighborhoods.”

According to the ADL Center for Extremism, some participants were identified, coming from multiple states, including Arizona, Colorado, some parts of Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.