Outnumbered more than 50 times over
, three members of a Kansas-based fringe group here to picket a memorial service for a victim of the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 were hushed and eclipsed Sunday by counterprotesters in Buffalo and Clarence.
With many counterdemonstrators wearing white plastic angel wings and others holding large white flags and banners, two efforts by the three from Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., were rousingly overshadowed
by the response of area students and residents who gathered because they said they opposed the groupís hateful, anti-gay message.
The Westboro group had announced plans to picket near a memorial service in St. Joseph-University Catholic Church for Alison Des Forges, a human-rights activist
who was one of the 50 people who died in the Feb. 12 plane crash.
At about 1:45 p. m
., when the service had been scheduled to begin, the three Westboro pickets
started walking along Main Street from Allenhurst Road.
In a matter of minutes, they were surrounded by dozens of the more than 150 counterdemonstrators, who came armed with the plain white cloths to hide the Westboro groupís signs.
Just before 1:50 p. m., the three Westboro members walked back to their car
with two of at least a dozen Buffalo police officers monitoring the situation.