Westboro group planning demonstrations in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It appears that members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church are coming to Orlando this weekend after conflicting reports throughout the week.
On Thursday Orlando Police tweeted that the group was not planning on coming to Orlando, but later OPD received a letter from the church saying that they did in fact plan to demonstrate in the city.
ORIGINAL STORY: Local leaders and clergy in Central Florida are warning that a hate group is planning to protest the funerals of the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub.
A special conference was held on Wednesday at the Orange County Council chambers to discuss Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church after the county learned that some of its members may be coming to Orlando to create disruption at the funerals. It is a group that Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said is a hate group.
Jacobs brought together 50 people, including clergy, officials and members from the LGBT community. "It is important our community be prepared for a season of mourning. But we have just learned, we may have a hate group coming to our community. If that happens, I want everyone in the community to know that we will not leave their presence unchallenged," she said, "and our LGBT community will not be without our support, our protection, and our united love."
The mayor offered a final message to anyone who might encounter the group, saying to ignore them. "We cannot fight hate with hate," she said. "We cannot fight violence with violence."