Armed Militia Seize Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
While the intentions may have started out peaceful, the armed protest in Burns, Oregon, planned for January 2, 2016, ended badly as several armed militia members illegally seized and occupied the refuge headquarters.
The Bundy family of Nevada have joined with these rogue militiamen and vowed to occupy the refuge for years.
Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, has been posting regular announcements, updates and videos over social media for several weeks. He has attempted to gather a large presence in Burns today.
It does appear that Bundy and his followers have been planning this seizure of Federal property for some time, prior to today’s protest. The occupiers are claiming up to 150 people in their group.
In phone interviews from inside the occupied building Saturday night, Ammon Bundy and his brother, Ryan Bundy, said they are not looking to hurt anyone. But they would not rule out violence if police try to remove them, they said, though they declined to elaborate.
Ryan Bundy said there are no hostages, but the group is demanding that the Hammond’s be released and the federal government relinquish control of the Malheur National Forest.
The militiamen have taken the Hammond Family’s legal issues as the basis for this standoff. However, the Hammond family have issued several statements asking the militias not to get involved.
The Hammond’s are due to turn themselves in to Federal authorities on Monday, January 4, 2016. They have volunteered to comply with this court order.
Oath Keeper founder, Stewart Rhodes, issued a statement that the Oath Keepers, as an organization, would not be attending the protest, out of respect for the Hammond family wishes.
Brandon Curtis, of Idaho III%, one of several groups that attended the protest, disavowed knowledge of the seizure of the Refuge headquarters. They issued this statement: