To bring everyone up to date, there was to be a protest by a group of right-wing fundamentalists on a student production of The Laramie Project at Alameda High School. Info can be found on Queers United. This post is an update to that.
I just spoke with Captain Brock of the Alameda Police Department. As of today, the protest by the Westboro Baptist Church has been canceled.
He was notified of the event yesterday, when a concerned parent of a student called him. He contacted the Westboro Baptist Church and spoke with Phelps' daughter. According to her, they are *NOT* coming to Alameda, but instead are going directly to Hawaii to protest at the funeral of President Elect Obama's grandmother.
Captain Brock took this all very seriously, making numerous phone calls to the Topeka Kansas police dept and the Westboro Baptist Church itself. According to the Topeka police, the WBC always notify the local police where ever they plan to be, to ensure their First Amendment rights are upheld. They also tend to get a lot of counter demonstrators when they come to California and their groups are very small, generally between 10 and 15 people. Captain Brock also met with local Alameda LGBT groups.
The listing is supposed to be removed from the website (although it has not been as of this posting). Captain Brock is aware of this. When I asked if he was concerned about other, more local Phelp's supporters seeing this and showing up, he seemed confident that that would not happen, as the WBC tends to fly all its people in as a group.
Captain Brock assured me there will be a police presence tomorrow night and that they are also organizing a candle-light vigil in support of the students, the local LGBT community and Matthew Shepherd. This will happen a bit away from the school grounds at 6:00 PM.
Please come show your support of Alameda High School and their courageous theatre department by attending the performance after the vigil.
The show starts at 7:30 PM.
Alameda High School Little Theater
2201 Encinal Avenue, Alameda CA
Tickets cost $10 for adults, $7 for students.