Hundreds of protests erupted in New York City and across the nation Wednesday evening, after a Staten Island grand jury cleared the white officer in the videotaped chokehold death of an unarmed black man.

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Protesters gathered in Times Square as the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony commenced, many shouting “I can’t breathe," Garner's last words before he died.

Earlier in the day, the grand jury found "no reasonable cause" to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo, who tried to arrest Garner in July for selling untaxed cigarettes.

The 43-year-old asthmatic man was put in a chokehold by the officer and died shortly after.

Other demonstrations fanning across New York to Washington, D.C., were mostly peaceful and led to few arrests. That's a sharp contrast to the often violent riots that unfolded nine days ago, after a white officer did not face charges for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American, in Ferguson, Mo.

The protests in New York remained largely peaceful throughout the night and into Thursday morning. More demonstrations were planned for Thursday.

There were at least 83 arrests in Manhattan, where demonstrators blocked traffic in addition to protesting the Christmas tree ceremony, according to The Wall Street Journal.

— Updated at 9:55 a.m. Thursday.