Scenes from the protest

westboro counter protest

Downtown this morning.

Sebastien has posted a slideshow of great pictures from this morning's downtown rally responding to the Westboro Baptist Church protest.

Seen some other good pics from the demonstrations today? Took some yourself? Post a link in the comments.

photo: Sebastien B.


Thanks for the link (the slideshow starts here actually, you wouldn't want to miss those nice Watchmen costumes :) There were a fair number of photographers today, many of them looking less amateurish than me: post your pics, I'm curious to see them...

Editors: we switched the link. Thanks

Just beautiful - I love seeing perfectly captured moments like this.

The TU has a bunch of good pics, and they got the rally last night too. They aren't nearly as good as Sebastien's though...good job!

Those are beautiful. I have nothing but contempt for the Westboro crowd, but where are they? Wouldn't it be interesting to see the faces of these people who are so filled with hate?

@summer: thanks! Most of the credits goes to Canon: you could put a monkey on a unicycle behind my camera and still get decent pics like the one above :) The way TU displays its photos don't do justice to Skip Dickstein, the guy is good.

I'm glad those bigots showed up.

Without their arrival, everyone would have just gone about their business without a thought in the world about injustice. Their appearance in Albany today brought a community together against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance.

It says a lot about our community that everyone comes together at a time like this to fight for what is right.

@rob: I was there from 8 to 9am, the Phelps crowd didn't show up (later?). They were at Albany High School earlier though.

Great pictures. But, like Rob, I'm curious to see their ugly faces... Who ARE these people??

The Phelps people were at Albany High from 7-8a and then at SUNY (near Washington and Fuller) from about 8:30-9:30. It was so nice to see gay, straight, black, white, believers and non-believers stand up to those lunatics. I'm proud of Albany.

(and Skip D. is a GREAT photojournalist)

Great pics, Sebastien... I'm jealous of that lens. (Looks like 70-200mm f / 2.8L?)

@James Cronen: wouldn't be lovely to think that this was Phelp's real mission all along? That through some weird sort of reverse-psychology he will bring people together by flinging them in the face of adversity? That their REAL mission is love, peace and tolerance and they've discovered that the best way to make people really FEEL it is to threaten to take it away from them?
Well it would be nice, anyway.


I loved the slide show. Those are great photos. I too am moved that so many people went out and showed their support. It's very moving! I wish I could have participated, but alas. Thanks to everyone who went out and participated!!

@Matt: yes, it's the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens. It has a nice bokeh, and I like to zoom on people, that range "works" for me. It's also fast enough for some girl-on-girl action.

I was relieved to see it was a non-violent protest. Even the best of us want to throw down when the Phelps Klan is in your face.

Hey, I also decided that my morning would be better spent shooting pictures than working. :) My shots are up in a set (WBC Comes to Albany) on my flickr stream

@Abby...oh lord, you have no idea...
Many kids dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads. I dream of lobbing grenades at the Phelps gangs smirking faces. With ferocity.

Is that wrong?

I didn't!

Late, and definitely not as good as the others, here, but a few more photos.

Just wondering if anyone else has the same thought as I:
that is, by going there and taking pictures of the demonstrators, by talking about this endlessly etc. a lot MORE attention was brought to the church, it's members and their disgusting thoughts. Often times the best way to get your message across that ideas such as these will not be tolerated is to do NOTHING.
Have to wonder if no opposition showed up, if people would have even noticed the church's presence in Albany. But pictures like this give them what they want. ATTENTION!!!
Before all this, I bet few people had even heard of this church.
If no one had shown up, they would have been a 1 second blurb on News 9 "Some church showed up at Albany High" and it would have been done with.

@Common Sense: While I see you point, I respectfully disagree. Yes, the counter protest does bring attention to the fact that the church is there but the more important point is that hundreds of people came together to rally against them. They brought attention to the fact that hate will not be tolerated in our community. This is an important point to be made even if it does have to involve that church.

I dont really think hate is tolerated in our community. While I see your point about about people wanting to show up to let the church see this (believe me I was tempted by several friends who DID attend), I chose not to because I refuse to allow people like this affect me. We have plenty of events and organizations in this area that promote positive messages everyday! There are events that celebrate our lives that need to be better attended!! And now EVERYONE knows this church's name!!! It's 2009, lets get with it. Everyone loves a circus!

@CommonSense: I took those photos, so maybe I can give you my point of view, for what it's worth. I actually did think about the issue you are raising before going. I can only speak for myself, but... well... I still don't have a definite answer actually :) I'm not a freelancer, I don't do it for money, I'm not getting any revenue from ads, AOA or Flickr. I like photography and photo-journalism as an art form, a means of expression, and a nerdy past-time. I'm experimenting with my camera for now, trying to provide my "vision" of what's going on locally now and then. As a local news agency, this event was probably a no-brainer: it had to be covered somehow. I actually don't think the topic was "controversial" per-se, for the simple reason that I don't see how one could seriously defend those Westboro lunatics. I doubt even Fox would side for them. Now you can question my agenda, but it's fairly simple actually. I wanted to "cover" a local event from A-Z, from shooting to publishing online, in a short time-span. I was looking for a place where I could focus on people and capture a whole array of faces and emotions. You may have noticed that none of my shots feature Phelps and his gang; when B and myself walked down to Broadway, we kinda wished they would be there. Looking back at my pics though, I'm actually happy he didn't show up, I think the first 10 photos do convey this sense of unity and peacefulness.

Full disclaimer: I don't get any revenue from AOA but half-of-them have shoveled my driveway in the past :)

For the record, half of AOA did shovel S's driveway once, but only because he's a really nice guy, we were highly caffeinated that morning, and we were trying to make up for Euro Disney.

I believe the conversation went something like this:

"ouuu, do you theenk thees Phelps [French expletive] weel be there?"

"Yeah, I sort of hope so, punching him in the face would be worth the arrest and lawsuit, right."

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