Thursday, March 10, 2016

Standoffs in Oregon Over Land Lead to Armed Protests

Jonah and Jack Slominski
Staff Writers

What started out originally as protests over two men being sent back to prison for setting fire to federal land as well as their own ranches escalated into an armed standoff between the two groups. Protesters gathered in a small Oregon town called Burns, ironically, on Jan. 2.
A group of armed militants broke off from the protestors and then took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles away from the town. Their leader, Ammon Bundy, son of famed Nevada protestor Cliven Bundy said they did not have any intentions of violence unless acted upon.
This is where things started to get ugly, as the militants and police could not reach an agreement in negotiations, which lead to the FBI’s involvement. Ammon Bundy also called all nearby ranchers to tear up their contracts with the government and stop paying their grazing fees as well. These were the reasons why Ammon Bundy and his father, Cliven Bundy, have gotten into disputes with the government before. The standoff continued to escalate when the FBI and a few protesters met about 20 miles from Burns where there was a firefight between the two groups leaving one dead and five protesters in police custody, including Bundy. He would later release a statement from court to the remaining protesters, telling them to stand down.
The number of militants in the wildlife refuge continued to decrease. On Thursday just four armed men and women appeared to be still there in the morning. Still they were surrounded by federal law enforcement who still had blocked off the roads to this building. Only one exit was unprotected to give the protesters a chance to give up and flee the scene which a couple of the protestors took advantage of. The last holdout was David Fry. Fry would eventually leave the refuge without a fight, ending the standoff. The standoff left one dead and 25 others indicted.

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