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Cardinals' first Pride Night attracts small protest, much bigger counterprotest

The St. Louis Cardinals held their first Pride Night at Busch Stadium on Friday.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church had promised a protest and delivered a small one. Six church members stood across from the stadium at Clark St. and Broadway Ave. before the game holding up signs.

But the anti-LGBTQ protest was hard to notice behind the sea of counterprotesters standing in front of them.

Thomas True, a former Kansas resident, came out as part of the counterprotest. He held a sign that said “All You Need is Love.”

“This is all to stand against them,” True said, “to show that St. Louis is willing to stand against their hate against the LGBTQIA-plus community and I think we’re doing good. We’ve got a good turn-out.”

More than 50 counterprotesters played music, chanted and responded with enthusiastic shouts whenever cars honked in support. While the demonstration at times felt like a celebration, there was also anger.

“We wanted to bring awareness to not only their hateful rhetoric and let them know that it’s not acceptable here,” said Carly Smale, “but there also are some issues going on in the LGBTQIA community in St. Louis itself.”

St. Louis Police shot and killed a transgender woman named “Kiwi Herring on Tuesday. Police said Herring confronted officers with a knife and would not respond to their commands.

Counterprotesters outside the baseball game, including Smale, hurled invectives at police and chanted “Black Trans Lives Matter.”

Police on bicycles moved into the crowd around 6:30 p.m. to escort the Westboro protesters from the area. They then pushed the counterprotesters off the sidewalk and into Broadway Ave.

For about an hour, the counterprotesters remained there, chanting “Who’s streets are these? Ours!”

Meanwhile, Cardinals fans made their way to the game, a few stopping to take photos or videos of the protests, but most quickly moving on.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.