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Militia Sympathizer Leads Protest Outside FBI Headquarters


Pete Santilli, an Internet radio host and strong advocate of the armed occupation near Burns, Oregon, led a demonstration outside the FBI's makeshift headquarters there.

Pete Santilli, an Internet radio host and strong advocate of the armed occupation near Burns, Oregon, led a demonstration outside the FBI's makeshift headquarters there.

Conrad Wilson/OPB

A group of about 20 protesters demonstrated outside the FBI’s makeshift headquarters in Harney County, which is set up at the Burns Municipal Airport, on Saturday.
 
The protest was led by Pete Santilli, host of a show on YouTube and a strong advocate for the militants occupying the refuge.
 
Federal agents talked with Santilli and a few other protesters for more than 30 minutes outside the concrete barriers that guard the armed entrance to the makeshift FBI office.
 
“We can resolve this and it can be resolved peacefully and we’re all Americans and the First Amendment, which you guys are exercising, freedom of speech, is a great way to resolve this, peacefully and with talk,” said Craig Overby, an FBI agent with the Salt Lake field office.
 
Overby told protesters those making decisions will see their message.
 
“We really do respect your position, coming out here,” Overby said. “We’re here to protect order and maintain public safety and, you know, the decisions aren’t made at this place here.”
 
Asked about the demonstration outside the FBI’s headquarters, Finicum said Santilli is an “independent journalist” and is not part of the group occupying the Refuge.

Santilli also clashed with anti-occupation protesters earlier Saturday.

OPB’s Amelia Templeton contributed to this report.

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