ORLANDO, Fla. - Staff and volunteers from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater created larger-than-life angel wings to block protesters from Westboro Baptist Church.
Less than a dozen members of the church, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were on hand with signs to protest the funerals of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. WBC announced its plans to attend, giving organizers time to plan a counter protest.
The counter protest, however, was more of a host, with the angelic figures lining the street in front of hundreds holding signs in support of love and inclusion.
A large sign held toward WBC members read "Love is Stronger than Hate," and chants of "Orlando United" and "Orlando Strong" rumbled through the crowds.
Police were also on hand, making sure protesters on both sides remained calm and safe. There were no reports of violence during the protests and the Orlando Police Department tweeted afterward, "Westboro protesters have left the state & have no plans to return. Thank you to those who met protests with grace & love."
Westboro protesters have left the state & no plans to return. Thank you to those who met protest with grace & love. pic.twitter.com/PZJ9F9MB9S— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 18, 2016
A second tweet said if WBC members were to return the would need to notify police and the city beforehand.
Westboro: If they decide to return they will notify city and post on their website, which we will not reference here pic.twitter.com/xUFlRKacPe— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 18, 2016