Drag brunch in Roanoke brings protesters, armed counter-protesters

Protesters and counter-protesters got in heated exchanges outside a "drag brunch" in Roanoke on Sunday.

Video from outside Anderson Distillery and Grill on early Sunday shows the two groups gathered on both sides of the street, shouting at each other.

Some seen in front of the restaurant are wearing black face masks and holding rifles.

Roanoke Police say they were aware of the protest ahead of time and brought extra officers and resources to increase security.

The event called "Barrel Babes Drag Brunch" which the location described as "similar to a variety show with professional drag artists lip-syncing, dancing and performing comedy routines."

In the days leading up to the event, the group Protect Texas Kids called for a protest. In a Facebook post they said, "We need to show up in full force and show that the majority of us are against children being involved in these disturbing, sexually explicit shows." 

In a post to the distillery's Facebook page prior to the event, owner Jay Anderson said the brunch, hosted by his son, would contain no sexual content or erotic behavior.

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Protesters gather outside of a drag brunch in Roanoke on Sunday, August 28. (via Sonia Soulivong)

The restaurant says they reached maximum capacity during the brunch.

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Similar events have drawn protests in North Texas and across the United States.