Students protest traveling preachers at South Carolina university

A few hundred Winthrop University students in protest swarmed a group of traveling preachers shouting their message from footstools on the sidewalk in front of Byrnes Auditorium on Wednesday.

The traveling street preachers, many who hold down regular jobs from Idaho to Orlando, Fla., converged at Winthrop on Wednesday and set up their demonstration in a "free speech zone," campus officials said.

The group of eight took turns preaching about the spiritual dangers of drunkenness, drug use, premarital sex, homosexuality, pornography and abortion. One demonstrator held a graphic picture of what was called an aborted fetus.

Students crowded around the speakers, engaging them in debates. Some students debated in cells formed along the periphery.

Winthrop sophomore Antonio Artis said he thought the preachers were a bit hostile.

"They should talk about it in a more peaceful manner," he said.

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