Thousands of Eric Garner protestors descended on midtown Manhattan Wednesday night, blocking streets and standing off with police while just blocks away, a star-studded lineup of celebrities blithely sang Christmas carols for a live NBC broadcast.

As they moved through Manhattan, protestors chanted both the Ferguson rally, "Hands up don't shoot," and "I can't breathe"—one of the last things Garner said before dying in NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo's chokehold this summer.

Some protestors staged "die-ins" at Grand Central station and, later, on the street in midtown.

By evening, thousands of people had joined the march, while just a few blocks away at Rockefeller Center NBC's star-studded Christmas tree lighting ceremony continued on as planned with no mention of the nearby demonstrations.

Update 7:45 p.m.

According to reports, police officers are beginning to arrest protestors.

WSJ reporter Pervais Shallwani says at least 16 people were arrested so far near Rockefeller Center, apparently after trying to breach police barriers.

Update 7:55 p.m.

The protest is reportedly heading towards Time Square.

Update 8:45 p.m.

Protestors have largely shut down the West Side Highway.

Update 9:15 p.m.

NBC's tree lighting ceremony hosts—Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer and Natalie Morales—politely acknowledged the protests raging outside at the end of the broadcast.

Matt Lauer: We have to admit it's been a bit of an emotional and even tumultuous day, here in New York City.

Savannah Guthrie: It's been a day of protests, in some cases even close to where we're broadcasting tonight because of a grand jury decision earlier in the day.

Al Roker: And following what happened in Ferguson, there's obviously a lot of difficult feelings out there.

Matt Lauer: And so, even as we do welcome the holiday season, we have to say we hope it will be a healthy and joyous and a peaceful season for everyone.

Natalie Morales: [smiles, nods]

[There was a video here]

[image via AP]