Protesters were met with temperatures around 30 degrees Saturday, February 15, 2014. The protestors organized by MU students lock arms in solidarity. Photo by Philip Joens.
Hundreds of people lined Stadium Boulevard between Providence Road and Mick Deaver Memorial Drive on Saturday in a show of support for former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam.
Last week Sam publicly announced that he is gay, an announcement that received a quick response from members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. The church is known for its stance against homosexuality and about a dozen members came to Columbia on Saturday. The number of counter protesters far exceeded the small number from the church.
The event, titled One Wall, One Mizzou, was organized by several MU students. This is the second time in recent years that community members have responded in protest to a protest by members of the church. In July 2011 Westboro protested at the funeral of Spc. Sterling Wyatt and residents formed a human barrier to protect the family from the Westboro protesters.
People in the counter protest danced, sang songs, and locked arms, forming a line more than a quarter mile long. The protest lasted about an hour.
Michelle Z. Carmichael looks on at the line of counter protesters as she stands along Stadium Boulevard on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 in Columbia.
Counter protesters formed a line more than a quarter mile long along Stadium Blvd. between Providence Rd. and Mick Deaver Drive on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Photo by Philip Joens.
Two people display an American flag Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, along Stadium Boulevard. On the other side of the street people from Westboro Baptist Church spat and stomped on the flag. Photo by Philip Joens.