Occupy protesters confront Westboro Baptist Church demonstrators

10:40 PM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
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Downtown Tampa.  4 PM. There is a disturbance. Cops on bikes rush to intercept.  Mounted police move in as well.  A mob of loud protesters are marching toward city center.

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It's the occupy protesters on the move to the protest zone.  They chant and carry signs.  They are angry.

Police block their path and divert them, while ground forces move ahead of the pack. The protesters pick up the pace.  They have someone to confront: Westboro Baptist Church.

The protesters converge on the 10 people in the Westboro group who are quickly surrounded. Westboro protesters hold insulting, derogatory signs while singing and praying out loud. 

Their voice are quickly dwarfed by hundreds of catcalls and vulgar slurs.  Same-sex protesters kiss in front of them, daring Westboro to stop them.  It's a tense few moments before cops in riot gear -- complete with helmets and shields -- separate the two groups. 

The confrontation ends peacefully, no violence, no arrests, but the Westboro group is escorted away for their safety.  Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor immediately addressed the media about the protest.

"We are letting them demonstrate and do what they want, but we cannot allow them to block city intersections," Castor said.

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