(Huffington Post) A planned protest by the Westboro Baptist Church was overshadowed Saturday when thousands of supporters gathered at the funeral of a fallen soldier to block the radical church’s effort.
Thousands of people in red shirts formed a “human wall” around the Columbia, Mo. church where 21-year-old Army Specialist Sterling Wyatt’s funeral was held. Wyatt was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month.
Westboro Baptist Church, an independent Kansas-based church known for its extreme ideology and widely condemned demonstrations, had indicated plans to picket the funeral. When Tori Smith, an acquaintance of Wyatt’s, got wind of the protest plans, she decided to organize a small group of supporters to counteract the church’s negative actions. Word of Smith’s plans spread quickly, drawing thousands to the church on Saturday morning.
According to KBIA, the “red wall” was highly effective in fending off the small group from Westboro, who reportedly left the church area early in the afternoon.
The Columbia Daily Tribune relayed details on the outpouring of support:
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