Thursday, January 28, 2016

Imprisoned armed standoff leader tells remaining occupiers, 'please go home'

Ammon Bundy, the imprisoned leader of the armed standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Harney County, Oregon, told his remaining supporters on Wednesday to go home, Dave Seminara, Julie Turkewitz and Kirk Johnson report for The New York Times. Bundy was among a group arrested on Tuesday in an incident with law enforcement that left standoff spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum dead. Bundy said in a statement released by his lawyer: “To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home." (Bend Bulletin photo by Joe Kline: A roadblock five miles from the refuge)

As of Wednesday night, seven occupiers remained at the refuge, reports the Times. David Fry, one of the occupiers, told reporters they would stay “until someone starts listening or until they slaughter us." Group members "said they believed Finicum was murdered and that holding Ammon Bundy in jail was an outrage to them." They said they "took a vote and decided to dig in and stay; on a streaming video from inside the refuge, a handful of men could be seen carrying long guns, operating a backhoe belonging to the federal government and speaking darkly of a bloodbath."

"Also on Wednesday, law enforcement officials—for the first time since the occupation started Jan. 2—set up barricades and checkpoints on a two-lane road into the refuge where a few weeks ago there were barely any vehicles," reports the Times. "They vowed to stop and interrogate anyone who tried to enter or leave the Malheur, as most people here call it, saying that protesters who wanted to leave peacefully would be allowed to do so. They made it clear that the days when journalists could mingle freely with the protesters, and local ranch families could drop by with a batch of soup or just to chat, were over." (Read more)

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