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Tens Of Thousands Attend Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting In Spite Of Protests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A holiday tradition continued on Wednesday night, in Midtown with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

But as CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, this year's celebration was a bit controversial.

Rockefeller Center was the place to be on Wednesday night, Tens of thousands packed in to see the annual Christmas tree lighting. It's a New York City tradition.

"This is an annual family thing that we do together every year and we sing Christmas carols and enjoy ourselves," Michael Marshall Jr. said.

Leading up to the lighting several performances from Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Mariah Carey, Cyndi Lauper, and many more, but the main attraction an 85-foot tall tree, dazzled with 45,000 LED lights.

"I live in New York and I've never seen the tree light up, so it's really exciting for me. All these lights and everything, it's really exciting," Xanae Nickle, Crown Heights, said.

Tens Of Thousands Attend Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting In Spite Of Protests

Amongst those on hand to see the annual lighting was something different, police in their protective gear, and protestors.

Protestors chanted from the sidewalk most of the night. The demonstrations were peaceful, some were nervous, but mostly inconvenienced.

"It's very disappointing, because we came all the way from the UK and we haven't seen it," Steve Callaby said.

"I don't find it scary. The wife found it a bit scary," Tony Holland said.

"I'm just really excited, but the problem is that there's all the protestors that are blocking our way here," a child added.

The tree will be lit until January 7th.

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