‘Guardian angels’ block Westboro Baptist protestors at Orlando funeral
The angels stood guard against the infamously hateful group.
People in Orlando have dressed as guardian angels to protect the funeral of one of the Orlando shooting victims from homophobic protesters.
A small number of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) followers, attended Saturday’s service for Christopher Leinonen – who many thought would be buried alongside his boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero, who also died in the shooting.
Although the WBC may only consist of few members, it is well known for its hateful speeches and sickening funeral protests.
However, the handful of demonstrators that were disrespectful enough to demonstrate at Mr Leinonen’s service were blocked from view by around 200 counter-protesters.
Some of those shielding the service wore huge white linen wings – which they used to further hide the funeral proceedings from the WBC.
“I think our presence here is just to show support for the families of the victims and we want to make sure that we’re an ally,” said one supporter, Suzanne Draper.
Fellow counter-demonstrator, Wesley Wizner added: “We wanted to make sure we could block the signs.
“We just intended to make sure we were showing as much support as possible and they were running into as large of an opposition as we could create.”
The wings were made by volunteers from the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre’s costume and set departments.
The props first appeared at the 1998 funeral of Matthew Shepard – a gay man murdered in Wyoming.
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The WBC travelled to Orlando last week, with the intention of protesting as many funerals as possible with ‘God Hates Fags’ signs.
However, hundreds of local residents have since thwarted the group’s attempts – turning up ahead of Westboro and forming a human chain around the memorial locations.
They do so to ensure that the families and friends of those who died can mourn in peace.
The ‘human chain’ group is coordinating on Facebook to ensure that all of the local funeral locations remain bigot-free.
49 people were killed and 53 injured in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack last week, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.