Hundreds Counter Westboro Baptist Church In Bozeman - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Hundreds Counter Westboro Baptist Church In Bozeman

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BOZEMAN -

The controversial Westboro Baptist Church held their much anticipated protests in Bozeman today, but they were met with a wall of counter protesters.

Hundreds of students and community members were at Montana State University and Bozeman High School to show their support of diversity.

Only three members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up.  They were singing popular songs with modified lyrics across the street from the student union on M.S.U.'s campus.

Hanna Frawly was one of many students at the protest at M.S.U.

She said she was there to support her town.

"I just think everything they support is absolutely ridiculous and it is just good to show support what Bozeman believes in so it is good to be out and a part of the crowd," said Frawly.

Many people surrounded the Westboro Baptist Church protesters, shouting at them to "go back to Kansas", where the group is from.

At 3 p.m. the group went to Bozeman High School, where the Bozeman Police Department put barricades around them, protecting them from the counter protesters.

Some people, like Chad Dokken, followed.

"We are here to irritate and make them feel as awkward as possible because Bozeman is a free loving town and we don't want people preaching hate," said Dokken.

Dokken said he was there because he didn't feel the Westboro Baptist Church supports the United States with their protests.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Bozeman Monday said they didn't care how the people surrounding them felt.  In fact, they loved the reaction they got.

"One, this is our target audience," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, Westboro Baptist Church activist. "It is great when they come out and see the words for themselves."

While the Westboro Baptist Church was targeting the students, many people in the community also showed up.

Community members stood next to students to show their support against the hate group.

ABC FOX Montana caught up with one woman who took off work to stand by her son, who is a student at M.S.U.

She said her boss didn't have a problem with her decision to attend the protest.

"He was very supportive," said Lori Myers, mother of M.S.U. student.  "I just told him I wanted to be here to support my son and he was all for it."

All the high school administrators were outside keeping the crowd in line.

Bozeman Public School Superintendent, Rob Watson, told ABC FOX Montana elementary administrators were watching the bus transfer location, away from the protest.

 

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