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People Dressed As Angels To Block Anti-Gay Protesters In Orlando

The hateful Westboro Baptist Church tried to interrupt some of the funerals of the Orlando gay nightclub victims — but these angels weren't having it.

Last updated on June 18, 2016, at 12:33 p.m. ET

Posted on June 18, 2016, at 11:30 a.m. ET

Funerals were held Saturday in Orlando for some of the 49 victims of last week's terror attack on a gay nightclub.

David Goldman / AP

A notorious Kansas-based extremist group, the Westboro Baptist Church, traveled to Orlando to protest some of the funerals with anti-gay signs.

WBC protests as supporters sing national anthem. "I love you Orlando" yelled out, crowd cheers @wmfeorlando

The group, which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America," was led by the fundamentalist Fred Phelps until his 2014 death.

Pastor Fred Phelps in 1999.
David Zalubowski / AP

Pastor Fred Phelps in 1999.

Carrying offensive signs and chanting hateful slogans, four protesters tried to interrupt Saturday's funerals.

WBC members show,4, yelling "never ok to be gay" counter protestors sing Amazing Grace @wmfeorlando @JHBaileyDC

But they were blocked from view by heavenly volunteers who dressed up as angels.

The Angels arrive to huge applause at St Luke's for funeral #OrlandoStrong @wmfeorlando to block WBC

At Orlando counter-protest, angels wearing large wings ensure Westboro protesters don't disrupt the funeral proper.

The "Angel Action" counter-protest can be traced back to when Westboro members picketed the funeral of Laramie, Wyoming gay teen Matthew Shepard in 1998.

Michael S. Green / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Friends of Shepard dressed as angels to block protesters at the murder trials for the two men who beat him and left him tied to a fence.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

Saturday's angels, members of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, were met with hugs to thank them for their actions.

#OrlandoStrong @wmfeorlando theater community spreads its wings to block WBC from family @tamarakeithNPR

Hundreds of demonstrators also reinforced the angels by singing the hymn "Amazing Grace" to drown out the Westboro supporters' hateful chants.

Surreal: one side sings 'amazing grace' as protesters chant against them while #orlandoshooting funeral next door

The solemn singing was truly heartwarming.

Amazing grace against Westboro Baptist Church.

Eventually, the tiny group of Westboro protesters left and the angels were cheered as heroes.

People cheer as tiny group of Westboro Baptist Church protesters leaves. Also thank @OrlandoPolice #OrlandoStrong

Westboro protesters have left the state & no plans to return. Thank you to those who met protest with grace & love.

💜💛💙💚💔

Supporters sing Amazing Grace to drown out WBC @wmfeorlando #OrlandoStrong

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