ARLINGTON, Va., May 31 (UPI) -- Members of the Ku Klux Klan were among counter-protesters who met Westboro Baptist Church followers at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, witnesses said.
Hours before President Barack Obama participated in Memorial Day observances at the Tomb of the Unknowns Monday, three members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, based in Kansas, were challenged by others -- including KKK members -- who disagreed with them, CNN reported.
Westboro Baptist Church has drawn nationwide attention for its anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. military members.
About 10 members of a group saying it was a KKK branch called the Knights of the Southern Cross were in a cordoned area -- separate from a larger group of protesters -- near the cemetery's main entrance, witnesses said. They said they objected to the Westboro Baptist Church's anti-troop message.
"It's the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right to free speech," Dennis LaBonte, the self-described imperial wizard of the Virginia-based group that he said he formed several years ago, told CNN.
Abigail Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, said, "They have no moral authority on anything. People like them say it's white power ... white supremacy. The Bible doesn't say anywhere that it's an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race."
A group of about 70 protesters was positioned across the street from the cemetery, waving pro-USA signs and shouting at the Westboro Baptist Church group.
"I think they're twisted and confused, and we're just here to show them there are people who think they're completely wrong," one of the counter-protesters, Malaika Elias, told CNN.