Just prior to Friday afternoon’s demonstration outside the Great Auditorium, Luisa Paster, one of the organizers, urged those assembled to make it “a serious protest.” “No screaming, shouting and so forth,” she said.
And that’s how it went. Their signs carried the message that these protesters were aggrieved over recent remarks by the speaker inside the auditorium, Kirk Cameron, who had insulted gays and lesbians on national television. And yet, most of the estimated 200 demonstrators themselves were in almost a festive mood — friendly, talkative and smiling, perhaps looking forward to the Ocean Grove United block party on Cookman Avenue that immediately followed.
Occasionally someone in a passing car would honk or give a thumbs-up sign, eliciting a cheer from the demonstrators. And occasionally someone who disagreed with the demonstrators would mingle and engage some of them in conversation.
A small contingent of police watched over it all, making sure the demonstrators didn’t stray into the street in front of the auditorium or block the central sidewalk leading to the Stokes statue. Most of the people who were lined up to enter the auditorium for Cameron’s program seemed to pay the demonstration little attention.
If there was any open hostility on either side, we didn’t see it. The demonstration, organized by Ocean Grove United, began at about 5:45 and lasted until 7:30.
SLIDE SHOW by Paul Goldfinger: Run cursor along bottom to see slideshow tool.
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