Boston Teamsters Form Human Shield Against Hate Group

Steve Annear
Boston Daily
April 22, 2013

So far, the Westboro Baptist Church hasn't followed through with their threats to picket memorial services and ceremonies held for the victims and families impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings. But another group of locals showed up in Medford on Monday—just in case—and formed a human shield to block them.

According to a press release distributed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, the group was going to protest outside of St. Joseph's in Medford, where funeral services for Krystle Campbell started at 10 a.m. Monday. Campbell, 29, was one of three people killed in the bombings last week.

In a statement, the church group, notorious for blaming catastrophes and the deaths of innocent people on "God's wrath" because President Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage, protesters were going to "picket the memorial" with large signs.

"[President Obama] is chiefly to blame for bringing down the wrath of God on Boston, on Massachusetts, and the USA...WBC will remind you at every opportunity that God is your enemy," the group said.

On Sunday, April 21, members of Teamsters Local 25 issued a press release promising to block such protests outside of the funeral services for Campbell by forming a human wall. Local 25 President Sean O'Brien asked all off-duty Teamsters to participate. "Teamsters Local 25 will be out in full force [Monday] morning at St. Joseph's Church in Medford to form a human shield and block the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of Krystle Campbell. The Campbell family and friends have already endured immeasurable amounts of heartache and tragedy this week, and deserve a peaceful funeral with time to grieve privately," said O’Brien. "Westboro Baptist Church should understand that we will go to great lengths to make sure they don't protest any funerals of the victims of the past week's tragedies, and that those we lost receive a proper burial."

As of 10 a.m. there was no word if members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up, however, hundreds of people from the union were present if, at any time, the church group arrived. "Hundreds of Teamsters formed a solid wall on the suburban roadway approaching the church. They stood silent guard as mourners drove slowly by on the way to the 11 a.m. funeral service," the group said on their website.

Supporters pulled a similar move last week when Obama visited Boston to speak at a memorial service in the South End, just days after the attack. Members of the WBC promised to show up with signs, but never did. Regardless, roughly 1,000 people dressed in all black came to the aid of the city and held a silent protest in case the members followed through.


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