WATCH: Westboro Baptist Church protests right off UT campus on city property


Guillermo Hernandez

International relations senior Will Davies dances in front of Westboro Baptist Church members as he and fellow opponents of the hate group surrounded them at the corner of Dean Keeton and Red River streets on Wednesday morning. Davies and other community members held a rally in oppoisition to the Westboro Baptist Church’s visit to Austin.

Christine Ayala

Westboro Baptist Church members, who had planned a picket protest on campus, were met with student counter protesters on the edge of campus and at the Capitol Wednesday.

The group, which originally planned to picket on campus at the Frank Erwin Center, protested at the intersection of Red River and Dean Keaton streets, on city property adjacent to the University. In a statement on Tuesday, UTPD said protesters who are not affiliated with the University are not allowed to protest on campus.

Westboro Baptist Church Counter-Protest from The Daily Texan on Vimeo.

Before coming to the center, the Westboro Baptist Church was at the Capitol. Later in the morning, they went to Camp Mabry.

Westboro calls these gathering “religious protests and warnings,” according to their website. Westboro is an unaffiliated Baptist church based in Topeka, Kan. known for targeting the LGBTQ community and protesting during military funerals.

UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said the group protested with signs and music until a larger crowd of people arrived. Austin Police Department and UTPD assisted with traffic issues during the event and the protest ended without any arrests.

While near campus and at the Capitol, the protestors stood alongside counter protesters opposing the anti-LGBTQ message and the church’s presence. The various counter-protesters included UT students who gathered after opposition to the Westboro visit spread via social media.

Update: This article has been updated to include a video from The Daily Texan's multimedia department.