LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There were hundreds of protesters listening to speeches, carrying signs, and advocating for change. At the same time, there were also hundreds of Lansing area residents and visitors getting ready to watch the parade, before it wasn’t able to start.

Jill Higgins comes to the Lansing Fourth of July Parade almost every year.

“I know we have three high schools, they have their marching bands, we had different groups usually come through and different vehicles, and it’s usually a happy, wonderful experience for the kids,” Higgins said.

And at the capitol steps, another event took place today. Pro-choice advocates gathered to call for change, like Katy DeSantis.

“It is also, really inspiring to see a lot of people out here on their holiday, fighting for what they don’t feel is their independence,” DeSantis said.

Because of the protest, the parade was a lot smaller this year after some protesters stepped in front of the celebration which prevented it from starting.

It was re-routed for a moment, until protesters followed.

“So, we saw four different people go through, or groups go through, then the protesters started. And it took several minutes for them to go through and after that, that was it,” Higgins said. “The parade was done.”

She looks forward to it every year, not only for her, but for her grandchildren too.

“So, it was really a disappointment for us today to come all the way up from Jackson and not have the chance to enjoy the parade with our grandchildren,” Higgins said.

Lansing officials, like Mayor Andy Schor, are disappointed about ending the annual parade, but wanted to ensure the safety for all attendees.

“You know, we’re the capital city, certainly supportive of protests, we knew they were going to be there. We talked with the leadership of the protests, and we were expecting them to stay on the capital grounds. Certainly, disappointed that it came into the street and stopped the parade, but we wanted to make sure that everyone was safe. So, we had to stop the parade,” Schor said.

The organizer for today’s protest said that she did not intend to block the parade and insisted the protesters stayed on the sidewalk, and not in the street.