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(RP ACADEMY POST) Historical Account: 1943 Terrace Plaza Riots


Theaca

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Presented by Donnet University

The Nicer Version


 


The Terrace Plaza Riots, also commonly known as the Burning of St. Alram, was a protest that soon spread into localized riots starting on the 12th of December 1943. The Terrace Plaza Riots began in response to Caspar Alram, a preacher at the Terrace Plaza Gateway Church. The preacher recently gave a sermon denouncing homosexual Theacans and issuing a proclamation that they will suffer in the afterlife. In response protests against the sermon began to mount and on the 12th of December clashes between the protestors and church-goers escalated into riots. The Terrace Plaza Riots became a national source of attention and soon the riots spread across the country as indignant Theacans targeted churches. The riots came to a head as the Terrace Plaza Gateway Church was burned to the ground along with Caspar Alram and a small amount of his congregation. Shortly thereafter the rioters dispersed. 

 

The legacy of the Terrace Plaza riots is notably a reaffirming of Theacian beliefs in equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples. The riots also strengthened the movements against the Christianization of Theaca and the pushback against the spread within Theaca. Riots against churches and the subsequent burning of the Terrace Plaze Gateway Church have led to Christians leaving the country and the canonization of Caspar Alram as St. Alram.




Gay Rights Before Terrace Plaza
Historically Theaca has held progressive opinions towards same-sex relationships. During the earliest days of its national history homosexuality was neither stigmatized or seen in a poor light. As further westernization occurred and Theaca became more open to other nations and their cultures homosexuality was briefly criminalized from 1430-1432 but great public outcry along with a handful of the members of the royal family declaring their support the decision was reversed and homosexuality was once again seen as legally the same as a heterosexual couple. A new issue was on the horizon: the advent of marriage laws. Theaca had not officially recognized the concept of marriage but as cultures bled over into the nation a growing desire for the ability to marry both from the nobility at the time as well as peasantry.  The Theacan monarchy obliged but the question was raised regarding homosexual couples: would they be allowed to marry? In an effort to appease both side the monarchy left it up to local lords on who exactly could get married and the rule stood until 1790 in which same legal status was given to all couples looking for marriage.  

In more modern times Theaca has expanded its protection of homosexuality to the entirety of the LGBT+ movement and has encouraged other nations within its sphere of influence to do the same, citing human rights and scientific studies on gender. In the early 30s Theaca became a refuge for members of the LGBT community who had found themselves discriminated against in their homeland. These actions earned Theaca admonishment from more conservative nations while more progressive nations lauded its efforts in providing a safe place from discrimination to sexual minorities. Local Christians began to organize movements against the growing support of LGBT rights and stage demonstrations against the growing enthusiasm towards it based on their belief of the spiritual and moral harm that it inflicted upon Theaca's people.

Terrace Plaza Protest
On a late afternoon on the date of the 8th of December 1943 the Terrace Plaza Gateway Church congregation had finished a sermon and was leaving the church. They were confronted by a group of Theacan youths that had overhead the sermon from an opened window and were disgusted by the homophobic message within the sermon. After a brief exchange of words the young adults left, neither side knowing that this confrontation would serve as the basis for one of the largest riots in Theacan history. The church goers returned to their homes and the Theacan youths left to find their friends.

The youths went to a local hangout and told others of what had happened. By the next time the church opened for a sermon protestors were ready and formed a crowd to protest the message. Outrage had spread amongst the native Theacans and they had gathered en-mass to make their voices heard outside of their church. Local law enforcement was called to ensure the peace and after some heated words were exchanged the church-goers were able to enter and attend their service. Each day following the first protest on the 9th larger crowds of protestors attended as well as larger crowds of Christians whom had left their local area to stand in solidarity with the church. Insults and threats continued to be passed between each party while the police maintained a line between the two opposing sides.

National interest soon got sparked as the city became covered in protestors and news crews covering the incident. Day by day more Theacans arrived to show their support and soon the city was covered in brightly colored banners, pennants, and crowds of people holding signs. For local businesses this brief period of peace was a goldmine and everything seemed to be going well beyond the areas closest to the church. This was, however, not meant to last. The 12th of December, 1943, was an overcast and sleepy day and yet it would be the day that shocked the entire nation.


The Riots Begin
The fourth day of protesting started like any other: church-goers once again flocking to the now daily sermons while protestors surrounded the church. The air was filled with the electric atmosphere of change and witnesses were perplexed when the police, whom had been serving as a medium between the two side didn't arrive. The shouting between the two rose as both sides covered to only a few meters apart from another. According to witnesses an object, later discovered to be a brick, was thrown into the crowd of protestors and it struck a young woman on the head. She collapsed and the outraged crowd surged forward. With nowhere left to go and the call starting to be raised throughout the city many of the Christians fled, fearing for their lives, while others barricaded themselves in the church. Medical technicians arrived to take the young woman, identified as Lise Delsarte, to the hospital but upon examination she was found to have passed away.

The crowd of Theacans grew incensed at the news and when the police finally arrived and ordered them to disperse the crowds tolerance had ended. Throughout the city riots erupted and calls for justice for the murder of Lise Delsarte rang out from nearly every corner. Officers surrounded the Terrace Plaza Church in an attempt to protect it and so the angered Theacans took to the streets in mass protests. Destructive riots appeared in areas with close ties to Christianity or businesses that openly supported the faith. On the opposite end of Terrace Plaza speakers began to give their own speeches regarding solidarity between Theacans and the threat Christianization brought to the nation.

Later that evening, around 19:00, the mother of Lise Delsarte tearfully addressed the crowd on how rioting in the streets needed to come to an and and how it would not solve the deeper issues. Historians agree that while the woman likely meant well the crowd perceived it slightly differently. Instead of venting their frustrations on the streets a large mob organized in the square with the intention of storming the church. Thousands of Theacan citizens gathered and began to march on the church and police. After a few minutes of standoff between the police and the Theacan population an unknown rioter threw a Molotov cocktail over the police line and onto the building. Soon dozens sailed through the air and the intention was clear: the rioters intended to burnt he church, along with it's occupants, to the ground. The police fired warning shots into the air and soon the crowd had scattered but the damage had been done and the Terrace Plaza Gateway Church was now on fire.

In an effort to protect themselves the church-goers, including pastor Caspar Alram, had barricaded themselves inside by stacking the heavy wooden pews on top of the doors. By the time they realized what was happening the building had been completely engulfed in flames. Cries of alarm rose in the air and the fire department was called but unfortunately the packed streets and debris from the riot delayed the life-saving water. The police and few remaining protestors could only watch in growing horror as the building burned to the ground. Unfortunately none of the estimated 70 occupants within the building survived.

Spread of the Riots
As the sun rose on the 13th of December and the mood throughout the nation was somber. After a few days of mourning for the regrettable loss of life and the shock of the destruction faded it had seemed once the the nation was at peace with itself. As the final embers cooled the people of Theaca stepped back for introspection on how things could have devolved to this level so quickly. The government did its best to tiptoe through the issue and carefully soothe both the Christians and the polytheistic Theacans. This peace, however, was short lived.

In the wake of the burning of the Terrace Plaza Gateway Church Caspar Alram, one of the deceased, was granted sainthood by Christian authorities despite the earlier protests in Theaca. This act rekindled the fires of resentment and a new round of riots occurred, this time throughout the Theacan countryside. Christian schools, churches, and shops were burned to the ground or defaced. Great stacks of bibles and other Christian literature were gathered in piles and burnt en masse. In the streets violence between Christians and polytheistic Theacans soared to the point that it threatened to boil over into a full fledged conflict. Tensions only eased when the international community became involved and issued a proclamation of how the Thecan government was handing the riots. Whether through shame or an increased crackdown the riots eventually began to die out but the feelings of resentment only seemed to grow.

Legacy
The legacy left behind by the Terrace Plaza Riots is a confusing and often shameful look into the past actions of Theaca. It created a line in the sand between the Polytheists and Christians. Resentment soon began to boil beneath the surface and the events from the Terrace Plaza Riots would resonate with both groups for decades to come. Many Christians were unwilling to stay in Theaca and instead fled north or south and out of the country, searching for greener pastures. Inversely Polytheists flocked to Theaca as a bastion against growing Christian influences, which only further strengthened the growing divide that would plague the nation for many years to come.

Edited by Theaca (see edit history)
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