Members of the quasi-religious group, Westboro Baptist Church, planned to gather in Connecticut to protest the funeral of Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung. However, Good Samaritans were already there to thwart any possible protest with a human wall.
The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to picket Hochsprung's funeral on Wednesday in Woodbury, Conn., and "sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment." The group has blamed the mass shooting on Connecticut's same-sex marriage legislation. On Dec. 14, 26 people were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 of those victims included children ages 6 and 7.
Motorcylists lined up on Wednesday to protest the possible protesters. "All these guys see us and think we're bad. We're not. It's solidarity, is what it is," New York native Jim Hannigan told Newtown Patch. "I just felt I had to be here."
Motorcyclists keep watch for possible Westboro protesters at United Methodist Church. Story continues below.
The hacktivist group Anonymous, which targeted Westboro after their threats to protest, tweeted that members of Westboro were staying in a Motel 6 in Connecticut on Wednesday, according to the Examiner.
“I can't put you through to those rooms,” a desk clerk at the motel allegedly told Examiner. “I wish those people weren't staying here. I hate them and what they stand for.”
As part of operation #OccupyNewtown, Anonymous enlisted the help of followers to head to Connecticut to block Westboro members from protesting any of the victims' funerals, according to BetaBeat.
On the FDNY-oriented website The Bravest,* a posting asked firefighters and police officers to go to Newtown in plain clothes and block any protesters from the victims' families and friends during the funeral processions.
The group Angel Action, which were ready to counter Westboro Baptist Church protests at the funerals of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting victims in 2011, created a Facebook event to gather others to protect the Newtown funerals as well.
UPDATE: Newtown Patch reports that those offering to block any Westboro Baptist Church protesters from the victims' families are leaving because the group has allegedly left the area.
UPDATE 2: At around 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday, applause erupted in Woodbury when Nicole Sabel of the Women's Center of Greater Danbury made the announcement that Westboro Baptist Church members were not coming to protest at Hochsprung's service, according to Newtown Patch.
Newtown Patch told HuffPost that Westboro members had allegedly contacted area hotels and were reportedly spotted in the town.
Clarification: The website The Bravest is not the official FDNY website. The official website for the FDNY is www.nyc.gov/fdny.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article reported that motorcyclists organized by the Patriot Guard Riders attended the service. However, an official in the group reported to HuffPost that the Patriot Guard Riders did not orchestrate or officially participate in any services. A change has been made to reflect this.
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