A protest at a Phoenix mosque was held late Friday afternoon in response to two Phoenix residents driving to Texas last month looking to engage in violence because of a “Draw Mohammed” contest that was going on there:

Police officers lined barricades separating protesters and counter-protesters who gathered outside a Phoenix mosque Friday evening in response to a planned “freedom of speech” demonstration where attendees were encouraged to bring weapons and “draw Mohammed,” an act offensive to many Muslims.

Police presence increased by 6:30 p.m. to physically separate the two sides outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

About 20 cars and 15 motorcycles traveled from a protester meeting point at a nearby park to the mosque around 6 p.m., where people from the two sides used megaphones to yell at each other and were at times nose-to-nose.

A large group of counter protesters held signs reading “Love not Hate,” as others waved American flags and one man ripped the Quran in half.

The protest went off without any acts of violence. There were no fights and no riots.

One area where even supporters of the protesters split was in the decision of some to carry firearms. Arizona is an open carry state, and some of the protesters were openly carrying firearms, including rifles that would naturally be mistakenly referred to “assault weapons” or “automatic weapons.”

White House spokesman, Josh Earnest was asked about the protest. Here is what he had to say:

Here are some of his comments:

Even expressions that are offensive, that are distasteful, and intended to sow divisions in an otherwise tight-knit, diverse community like Phoenix, cannot be used as a justification to carry out an act of violence, and certainly can’t be used as a justification to carry out an act of terrorism.

The Department of Homeland Security is aware of this event, and as they were in advance of the previous event that was convened earlier this month, I believe, the Department of Homeland Security has been in touch with state and local law enforcement authorities, and we’re going to continue to monitor this situation.

Whether one agrees with what the protesters did, nothing they did was illegal. They were engaging in the right to peacefully assemble, engage in free speech and were exercising their second amendment rights and keeping with Arizona law.

So the question has to be asked: Why is the government “monitoring” any of this? There are plenty of people the DHS should be monitoring. People engaging in perfectly legal behavior should not be among them.