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Protests banned at student’s funeral

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The Casper City Council banned protesters from Friday's funeral of a slain University of Wyoming student, hoping to prevent a spectacle at an event that an anti-gay church vowed to picket.

During an emergency meeting late Thursday, the council voted unanimously to forbid protests before, during and immediately after the funeral.Matthew Shepard, 21, died Monday at a Colorado hospital, five days after being found pistol-whipped and tied to a fence in near-freezing temperatures outside Laramie. Two men have been charged with murder.

Police said robbery was the primary motive but that Shepard also was singled out because he was gay.

The killing has drawn nationwide attention, including President Clinton's call for Congress to pass legislation making it easier for federal prosecution of hate crimes.

Wyoming officials were bracing for the arrival of members of a Topeka, Kan., church that regularly engages in anti-homosexual picketing; they had planned to demonstrate at Shepard's funeral.