Showing posts with label protesters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protesters. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Community Comes Together For Funeral of Christina Green

Arizona lawmakers moved quickly Tuesday to try to block protesters from the funeral of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green, passing an emergency measure prohibiting protests within 300 feet of any funeral services.

In addition to the new law, hundreds of Tucson residents were making contingency plans to try to protect the family of the girl who was slain in Saturday's rampage.

The actions were prompted by the Westboro Baptist Church, a publicity-seeking Kansas congregation known for demonstrating at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, arguing that their deaths are retribution by God for America's acceptance of homosexuality. The church announced it would protest Green's funeral, scheduled for Thursday, because the family is Catholic.

The protest drew instant and unanimous condemnation from Arizonans.

"Protesting or picketing outside the funeral of an innocent victim is despicable," said House Speaker Kirk Adams. "It's time to bring Arizona in line with the many other states that protect the sensitivities of victims against groups that use fear and hate to denigrate the lives of Americans."

Adams sponsored the emergency measure that prohibits people from picketing or protesting within 300 feet of any residence, cemetery, funeral home, church, synagogue or other establishment during or within one hour of a funeral service or burial service.

The House and Senate passed the bill unanimously Tuesday. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure Tuesday evening.
The founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has traveled with his daughters and granddaughters throughout the county picketing soldiers' funerals, prompting new state and local laws to keep them away from grieving families. The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a free-speech case related to the funeral protests.

Tucson residents are preparing to line the funeral procession for Green, both to show their support of the family and to block them from seeing the Westboro protest.

"We just want to show the families in Tucson that we're a community that's bound together, through the good and the bad," said Janna Zankich, a 46-year-old dance studio manger.

On Tuesday evening, she planned to gather with dozens of people at Breakout Studios to construct 8- to 10-foot wings that volunteer "angels" would wear along the funeral procession to block the family's view of the protesters.

Residents' grass-roots response to the church's planned protest has spread quickly through social media.

A friend of Zankich's, Christin Gilmer, put up a Facebook page calling for volunteers to help protect the family from picketers from Westboro. Hundreds of volunteers have said they would attend.

Trevor Hill, a University of Arizona junior, is trying to coordinate the myriad groups so they are a calming and peaceful force on Thursday.

"Our goal is to be silent. We don't need to be a distraction — these are funeral processions," he said. "No signs or music, no counter-protests. Do not engage Westboro Baptist. It's just not worth it, and it's equally disrespectful for the family for us to be yelling."

Hill also hopes to show the world a different side of Tucson.

"There have been people claiming Arizona is the center of intolerance, the mecca of bigotry. That is absolutely not true. These are people who live their lives and want to raise families," he said. "It's honestly a very special community."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Protesters From Westboro Baptist Church FINALLY Learn About Karma and Patriotism!!

McALESTER - Members of a Kansas church that protests at military funerals may have found themselves in the wrong town Saturday.

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

Even before the protesters discovered their damaged tires, they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counterprotesters at Third Street and Washington Avenue, two blocks from the First Baptist Church, where the soldier's funeral was held.
Miller estimated that crowd to number nearly 1,000 people, and they not only drowned out the Westboro protesters with jeers, but with raucous chants of "USA, USA."

A few motorcyclists interspersed among the crowd also revved up their engines to muffle the protests.

More than two dozen law-enforcement officers - state troopers, sheriff's deputies and city police - formed a security cordon around the Westboro protesters.

"We're here to protect everyone," Miller said.

Westboro members picket military funerals across the country, spreading their message that "God hates America" because it tolerates homosexuality.