(Click here for photos from the inaugural parade.)

WASHINGTON — Thursday’s inaugural parade was a mixture of pomp and precaution, with protesters confined to small sections of the parade route and armed guards surrounding even the supporters.

But the security detail did not stop President Bush and the first lady from exiting their motorcade before the parade’s end, to the delight of the gathered crowd. Flanked by Secret Service guards, the president waved, thanked his supporters and blew kisses during his brief stroll.

Floats and performers from 46 states were represented in the procession.

The parade had 14 giant floats, more than 70 marching bands and marching units, and thousands of dignitaries and representatives from every state. Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., traveled the route on horseback. The military estimated about 10,000 participants were in the parade.

Military honorees included cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, a precision drill team from The Citadel in South Carolina and Purple Heart veterans from Maryland.

Petty Officer 1st Class John Caudle, 43, a chaplain’s assistant at the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., navigated the city’s partially closed subway system with his wife, Lori, to watch the festivities.

“He’s our commander in chief, and I’m proud to serve under him,” he said.

Bush launched the parade with a review of troops lined up near the steps of the Capitol.

Among the first crowds to greet the procession were protesters, who held up signs with insults such as “Worst president ever” and “America is disgraced.”

Bush’s motorcade sped up as it passed a designated area for protesters.

Police used pepper spray to break up one group’s attempt to disrupt the parade, and escorted other potential troublemakers out of the area. And pro-Bush partiers tried to drown out the protest chants as the motorcade passed by, while rows of security officials looked on.

Lines at the checkpoints for designated protest areas moved slowly throughout the day, as hundreds waited their turn to go through metal detectors.

Stern-faced soldiers in camouflage were standing outside a tent at a checkpoint where all spectators were patted down, with men in one line and women in another. A German shepherd was there to sniff cameras and bags.

Large banners were prohibited near the parade route, as were bottles or other containers that could be used as projectiles.

One of the protesters waiting in line, Juan Carlos Reyes, a former avionics technician in the U.S. Air Force, began shouting as his frustration mounted.

“What kind of coward do you support?” Reyes shouted, then led many in the group with the chant, “Let us in! Let us in!”

Farther up the parade route, supporters with tickets found it easier getting to their bleacher seats, which lined much of the president’s 1.7-mile path.

Organizers said about 40,000 paid between $15 and $125 for those seats, but about 60,000 more were expected to cheer or jeer the president along the route.

Editor Patrick Dickson and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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