SPOKANE -- Local law enforcement stationed themselves at each of the planned protests of the radical Kansas-based church who came to Spokane Thursday.
At 11:00 a.m., about 10 protesters from Westboro Baptist Church showed up with hateful signs and shirts to Gonzaga University, where they were met by about 100 counter protestors, chanting, shouting, and holding their own signs.
Westboro Baptist Church members are most known for protesting military funerals, spreading hateful messages against homosexuality and Judaism, and inflammatory banners and signs that often ignite confrontations.
They also protested at the Moody Bible Institute, and Whitworth University to similar counter protests of about 50 to 100 people.
The afternoon protests at Ferris High School brought out about 40 police officers, who said there was chatter of a threat against the protesters. Officers closed parts of the intersection at 37th and Regal to control the crowdS -- read more on that story here.
Many people did not believe Westboro protesters would show up to the scheduled rallies, despite their schedule that was posted on their website. In February 2007, Westboro planned to protest a military funeral at Ferris High School but never showed up.
For two days starting Thursday, Westboro members plan to hold protests across Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. Their schedule includes:
- Gonzaga University from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30
- Moody Bible Institute from 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
- Whitworth University from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00
- Ferris High School from 2:25 p.m. to 2:55
- Eastern Washington University from 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
- Synagogue Chavurat HaMashiach from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30
- Coeur d'Alene High School from 6:10 a.m. to 6:40
- Lake City High School from 7:10 a.m. to 7:40
- North Idaho College from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30, and again on Saturday, October 30 from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.
Dozens of counter protests have been scheduled to defer attention from Westboro. Counter protests at Gonzaga, Eastern have been organized through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of those counter protests:
- General counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164197010258956
- Gonzaga counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=130467287005144
- Eastern counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155029174530307
- Whitworth counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113733265354494
- Ferris counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163262223685595
- Moody Bible Institute counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160398923979805
- Synagogue counter protest: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=149589438416421