An armed occupation of a federally managed wildlife outpost in far off Oregon rolled into its fourth day Tuesday, despite the 2 men at the center of the unrest disavowed the protest.
The team, which calls itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday. It was vacant at the time because of the holidays.
They are actually calling for the release of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, 2 ranchers who were found guilty of setting fires that spread to government land. The occupiers have additionally promised to stay in the building until federally owned land is returned “back to the people.”
The ringleaders are Ammon and Ryan Bundy – sons of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher well-known for another standoff with the federal government in 2014.
The FBI, which happens to be leading the response, stated Sunday night it desires a “peaceful” end to the standoff. Law enforcement officials have not tried to take back the remote building but local schools have shut their doors until next week and locals have been cautioned to keep their distance.
The protesters have stayed at the reserve even after the Hammonds, who turned themselves in at the federal prison in San Pedro, California, on Monday mid-day, did actually disavow the occupation
The Hammonds’ attorneys stated they plan to appeal to President Barack Obama for executive clemency, but stated that “neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond family.”
This emotion was reinforced Monday by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, which stated that while it backed the Hammonds “via avenues that are in accordance with the law,” the association did “not support illegal activity taken against the government,” referencing the Bundys’ occupation.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward stated that the occupiers were no longer desired in the community.
“The Hammonds have turned themselves in,” he mentioned. “It is time for you to leave our community. Go home, be with your own families and end this peacefully.”
Ammon Bundy told news media on Monday that the occupiers have no goal of committing violence unless the government intervenes.
“The only violence that, if it comes our way, will be because government is wanting their building back,” he stated. “We’re putting nobody in harm’s way. We are not threatening anybody. We’re 30 miles out of the closest town.”