Tags: oregon | militia | wildlife | refuge

Militia in Oregon Takes Over Wildlife Refuge in Land Dispute

Image: Militia in Oregon Takes Over Wildlife Refuge in Land Dispute

Someone mans a watch tower at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after group of self-styled militiamen occupied its headquarters. (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

By    |   Monday, 04 Jan 2016 06:59 AM

An armed militia in Oregon continued in a standoff with law officers on Monday after taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters following a weekend protest in support of two ranchers, 

The refuge's headquarters south of Burns was unoccupied at the time the militia took it over Saturday, according to The Oregonian. The protest was in support of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, who were sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of arson on federal land.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, were among as many as 100 militia members protesting at the refuge. Ryan Bundy said the group wants the Hammonds released and for the federal government to give up control of the Malheur National Forest.

"The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds," said Ammon Bundy said of the refuge headquarters. "We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely. This is not a decision we've made at the last minute."

In 2014, protesters had rallied to Cliven Bundy's defense in a standoff with authorities over disputed land and grazing fees the government claimed the rancher owed, said ABC News.

Harney County Sheriff David Ward told The Oregonian on Sunday that he believes the militia's real purpose is to overthrow the local and federal government.

"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." 

Ryan Bundy disagreed.

"The best possible outcome is that the ranchers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down forever and the federal government will relinquish such control," said Bundy.

"What we're doing is not rebellious. What we're doing is in accordance with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land."

Comments about the occupation on social media were from one extreme to another.


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An armed militia in Oregon continued in a standoff with law officers on Monday after taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters following a weekend protest in support of two ranchers,
oregon, militia, wildlife, refuge
390
2016-59-04
Monday, 04 Jan 2016 06:59 AM
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