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Westboro Baptist Protest Republican National Convention

A half-dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church held a short demonstration in downtown Tampa Tuesday.

The Kansas group, known for protesting gay marriage and picketing funerals of American servicemen, drew the attention of a handful of media and curious passersby.

Tampa attorney Michael Curry was among those who watched the somewhat limited action.

"I'm not surprised that they're here but I really don't have a thought either way. It's almost comical more than anything else," he said.

A predicted counter-protest never materialized. The interaction was limited to people like Jesse Dickinson ofOklahoma, who debated with some of the parishioners.

"They believe that Christ did not die for the whole world," said Dickinson, who came in to attend a number of Ron Paul rallies. "I believe what the Bible says, Christ died for the whole world. It's pretty plain."

Later Tuesday afternoon, law enforcement officials said the small Westboro group faced off with another  group of 50 demonstrators holding an unplanned march. No one was injured or arrested.

The Westboro protesters are scheduled to hold another demonstration Wednesday morning in downtown Tampa, as well as multiple events at next week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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