(BURNS, Ore.) — Federal authorities are monitoring the situation at a wildlife refuge in Oregon where a number of militamen have seized the refuge’s headquarters in protest of arson convictions against a pair of local ranchers.
Among the protesters who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters is Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The elder Bundy is known for his 2014 armed standoff with the federal government at his Nevada ranch.
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Portland, Oregon office says that they are “aware of the situation” but declined to provide further details.
Ammon Bundy held a press conference on Sunday, one day after the protesters began occupying the building, saying that the federal government does not have the right to own or control land. The protesters, Bundy says, want the state to have jurisdiction.
The protests stemmed from the arson convition of a pair of ranchers, a father and son, who were convicted of burning federal land.
Bundy claims that it is the duty of the American people to put government in its place, and that his group does not have any intention of harming or endangering anybody.
The protesters say their intent is to assist the people of Harney County, Oregon in reclaiming their rights.
Harney County Sheriff David Ward said that while the militamen claim to be supporting local ranchers, “in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to over throw the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.” Ward said that his office was working with “several organizations” to ensure the safety of Harney County residents.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden also spoke to reporters on the situation Sunday, saying that the FBI is keeping an eye on the situation, urging citizens “not to walk off a cliff, misled by some outsiders who seem willing to take the law into their own hands.”
The U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service posted a message to Twitter about the situation Sunday, saying that they were working to resolve the situation peacefully.
Thanks for your concern re the situation at Malheur NWR. All FWS staff are safe & accounted for. We are working to resolve this peacefully.
— US Fish and Wildlife (@USFWS) January 3, 2016
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News