About 200 people spread out Sunday afternoon on sidewalks at Jesse Jewell and E.E. Butler parkways to demonstrate against abortion.
Demonstrators held up signs to passing traffic, with many motorists responding by honking their horns.
One woman showed support by clapping her hands through an open passenger window as the car she was in passed through the busy intersection.
The group was participating in Life Chain, an annual event in which participants gather silently along roadways and other public places.
The intent is not only to show opposition to abortion but to pray for a peaceful end to the practice.
Adults and children lined both sides of the streets with signs bearing such messages as “Abortion kills children,” “Jesus forgives and heals” and “Adoption: the loving option.”
“It’s incredible to see an outpouring of various faiths united for this purpose,” said Dorothy Butler, a member of St. Michael Catholic Church in Gainesville and coordinator for the local event.
The Rev. Jaime Barona, St. Michael’s pastor, led the group in prayer, including a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, before the event.
“Abortion is legal in our country, but it is not right. It is not godly; it’s against life,” Barona told the crowd.
“So, we have to stand up in prayerful attitude and prayer for our nation. Our nation needs repentance from this crime.”
One participant, Kathy Schultz of Gainesville, said she has attended Life Chain events for 22 years, from her days living in Missouri.
“We just believe in life,” she said, standing beside her husband, Dave. “One thing we can do is let people know that we don’t agree with abortion. We believe there are other ways to help people.
“A life is a life and God gives us that life.”
Gainesville resident Barbara Jackson, minority outreach director for Hall County Right to Life, said abortion is “gravely affecting the black community.”
“We went to raise awareness that this can be circumvented by education — the importance and significance of life,” Jackson said. “God ordains life.”