Small crowd of protesters mingle, argue at Ohio Statehouse, then leave

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Concerns over violent protests at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday faded as a small number of armed but peaceful demonstrators were considerably outnumbered by state troopers and National Guard members during an afternoon rally.

More than two dozen protesters, some armed with assault-style rifles and wearing military garb, argued with one another, sometimes with competing bullhorns, about a mix of causes including government overreach and election fraud from noon to shortly after 2 p.m.

Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol.

“I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said.

Ohio state troopers provide security at the Ohio Statehouse as armed protestors look on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Security was stepped up at statehouses across the U.S. after FBI warnings of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities “continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.”

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