Westboro Baptist Church, a nationally known religious group from Topeka, Kansas, is planning a demonstration in Orlando this Saturday, according to the Orlando Police Department.
OPD posted on Twitter Thursday evening that the church sent them a letter "saying they intend to be here 6/18 to demonstrate."
In an announcement on their Twitter, Westboro Baptist Church said they plan on demonstrating outside the Cathedral Church of St. Luke on Magnolia Avenue. Since the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead and 53 injured, the group has celebrated the killings on social media, saying that "God sent the shooter." The URL for the church's website is www.godhatesfags.com.
Westboro Baptist Church has received national media attention since 1998 when they picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in Colorado, allegedly for being gay.
The group also made headlines during the Iraq War for protesting at the funerals of Americans killed in action, carrying signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers."
The church's visit is planned on the same day as a ceremony to commemorate the shooting victims, which will be held at Lake Eola Park. The church's demonstration will be held about two blocks away from the park.
As reported by the Washington Post, a "human chain" was organized at the funeral for Javier Jorge-Reyes, a victim of the shooting. The chain — which was organized in response to rumors that the Westboro Baptist Church would be there wrapped around the outside of the service as a show of solidarity and support for the victim's family and friends. An organized told the Washington Post that members of the chain plan on attending other memorial services.
Alex Storer is the Entertainment Editor of the Central Florida Future. You can reach him at AlexanderS@centralfloridafuture.com.