Protesters React Angrily to Monument Removal

Published August 27, 2003

| FoxNews.com

As a controversial Ten Commandments (search) monument was removed from the rotunda of an Alabama judicial building Wednesday, about 100 protesters – some of whom had camped out all week – were visibly shaken and angered by the action.

"Put it back!" screamed the crowd after each statement made by Christian Defense Coalition Director Patrick Mahoney (search), who vowed to continue the fight.

An irate man initiated the "Put it back!" chorus after the monument was wheeled away from the rotunda.

"Get your hands off our God, God haters!" yelled the wildly gesturing, red-faced man.

One woman sat rocking on the steps of the building, hands clasped and tears streaming down her face. Another waved a poster asking President Bush to intervene.

The pro-monument supporters who have been on a weeklong vigil on the building's front plaza were urged to remain calm and not rush the glass doors. Some yelled, but the crowd was restrained.

Two dozen city police were stationed around the perimeter of the building and others patrolled the surrounding block on motorcycles.

Many monument supporters have protested the monument's removal from the Montgomery building's rotunda by lying down on the steps. Others were kneeling quietly in prayer.

Before the 5,280-pound monument was wheeled away, supporters had promised to keep up the fight to keep it in place.

But those seeking removal of the monument from its public site said they were grateful that it was finally being moved, a week after the deadline set by a federal judge.

"This is a tremendous victory for the rule of law and respect for religious diversity," the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (search), said before the monument was rolled out of the rotunda.

"Perhaps Roy Moore will soon leave the bench and move into the pulpit, which he seems better suited for."

Lynne's organization was among groups suing to remove Moore's monument, which he installed without telling the other eight Supreme Court justices.

Protesters said they were far from ending their battle to keep it on public display. They're also trying to get more people to join them in their cause.

"If it takes 75 years to reclaim this land for righteousness, God find us and our children and our children's children ready," said the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the national clergy council.

Fox News' Amy C. Sims, Jonathan Serrie and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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