It was an epic showdown that sent Westboro Baptist Church members fleeing the scene after only 10 minutes of picketing Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma.
Westboro congregants, known for protesting against gays and lesbians and at military funerals, regularly contend that God punishes mankind with natural disasters.
And considering that residents in Moore, Okla., suffered a horrific tornado last year, the virulent church group was apparently in town to affirm its belief that the deadly storm was evidence of God’s wrath.
Westboro members, who believe God sent the tornado, had a permit to appear for a half hour outside of Central Junior High, the building that has been housing grade school students since the storm ravaged Plaza Towers Elementary School, KFOR-TV reported.
But the community wasn’t willing to let Westboro picket in peace. More than two thousand Moore residents took to the streets on foot and on motorcycles to counter the protest.
They honked horns, laughed, cheered and held signs with messages like, “Thank God Fred’s Dead,” referencing to the recent death of Westboro founder Fred Phelps, and “WBC Wrecking Crew,” among other messages aimed at the church.
It didn’t take long for a number of frustrated individuals to cross the street to confront Westboro picketers, sending the church members fleeing.
Police held back angry residents while the parishioners ran to their vehicles. Watch the crowd cheer as Westboro members run away and cops try to maintain order:
“I was afraid of a riot really. I didn’t know how long Westboro would stay, which they were smart to leave,” resident Dan Eccles told KFOR-TV.
He continued, “They shagged tail, got in them cars and was leaving in a hurry. Oh yeah, they was gone!”
Residents told local media that the community has rallied since last year’s deadly tornado and that Westboro’s presence simply wasn’t welcome.
“If you come out here you’re going to get all of us telling you to go home,” Brenda Fox, a native of Moore, told KOCO-TV.
Police did not arrest anyone in connection with the protests, saying that the scene was surprisingly calm considering the intense emotions that were raging.
See another video of Westboro fleeing here.
Featured image via KOCO-TV