Five Westboro Baptist Church members met with 1,500-strong peaceful protest in Massachusetts

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Five members of the adamantly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church were met with over 1,500 peaceful protesters at a university basketball match.

The five members of the church holding homophobic signs were met with the more than 1,500 protesters as they picketed the University of Massachusetts.

Over 2,200 people signed up on Facebook to say they would demonstrate in support of the LGBT community at the university.

The Westboro Baptist Church, known for its ‘God Hates Fags’ slogan, said it would picket the university after gay basketball player Derrick Gordon came out as gay.

Organisers told supporters to wear purple or tie dye and to carry placards saying: “UMass united,” “love conquers hate,” “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that,” “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” “UMass stands as one.”

They also warned attendees not “to engage physically or verbally with any individuals. The strength of our statement is in our spirit. No yelling, no hate. We can’t stand unified against if we act inappropriately.”

As well as the peaceful rally, around a hundred rowdy counter-protesters shouted at the WBC members, some stripping down to their underwear.

The Westboro Baptist Church members left after less than an hour.