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6 Arrested, 1 Hit With Summons As Protesters Disrupt Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Protesters angry about the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, tried to disrupt the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday.

As CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, the uninvited protesters clashed with police, and six people were arrested while one more ended up with a ticket.

The group was furious about the grand jury's decision earlier this week not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's death.

"We will tolerate peaceful demonstrations," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. "We will not tolerate under any circumstance, violence or anything that induces fear."

Bratton said from the start of the parade police were on the lookout for protesters who might want to disrupt the event in the wake of this week's controversial grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

"We're monitoring it very closely, and I'm anticipating a very good day, a very peaceful day," said Bratton, who was among several police doused in fake blood during one protest this week.

Some parade-goers were not impressed by the demonstrators.

"I think it's sad," said Dina Errante of Brooklyn. "I think we should look and reflect on everyone being positive and move forward."

Police told CBS2 they arrested six protesters, and issued one summons for disorderly conduct. They were arrested around West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, but they did not cause any major disruptions, police told WCBS 880.

The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot the black unarmed teenager Brown in August, prompted protests nationwide. In Manhattan earlier this week, demonstrators shut down FDR Drive, blocked an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel during the evening rush and took over the West Side Highway.

A Day Of Fun And Festivity For Parade-goers

But even amid the protests, the bands played on, and spectators did not skip a beat – all the way to the finale with Santa Claus.

As 1010 WINS' Derricke Dennis reported, spectators lined up hours before the event even got underway. Once the parade got rolling, people were packed 10 deep in some spots, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

Junior Espejo has been attending the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan for 30 years in a row, and this Thursday, he and his family were up at 5 a.m.

PHOTOS: 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

"My favorite part is seeing the kids enjoying this," Espejo said. "It makes me feel like a kid again."

Even before the parade had begun, organizers were bursting with excitement.

"I feel great," Amy Kule, the parade's executive director, told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock. "What everybody's going to see today is the end result of the team's work for a whole year. We're going to have 17 giant balloons, we've got 27 floats, 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers. It's going to be a pretty impactful and wonderful day."

Kids of all ages bundled up for the chill, lining the parade route for a holiday experience like no other. As always, there were magical floats and larger-than-life balloons, such as Spongebob Squarepants and Elf on a Shelf.

"My favorite part so far has been the Spider-Man balloon," said Husan Alston of Queens.

The giant balloons also included Thomas the Tank Engine, Ronald McDonald and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Celebrities such as KISS, Nick Jonas and Idina Menzel also took part.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Marches Through Manhattan

The first marching band was from Western Carolina University.

"We're leading the parade today with 505 members, first time the university's ever done the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," one band member said. "We're excited."

Every float, balloon and marching band was announced by Bill Schermerhorn, the parade's creative director. It was his job to keep the parade moving along.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Marches Through Manhattan

"My job is to make sure it's running smoothly and everyone gets where they're supposed to be on time and having a great time doing it," he told Dennis.

"It's amazing," added Diane Cala of the Bronx. "It's the best thing for the kids to see it right here. Nothing like living in New York and being at the parade."

"It's a once in a lifetime experience," added Maggie Kaysak of Virginia. "It's always different every year."

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