Standoff demonstrations rise in Oregon

Local press says armed protesters occupied national wildlife refuge in Oregon, US

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Local press says armed protesters occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, US

Some 300 local armed protestors gathered in Burns, a small town about 280 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon on Sunday and protested against a prison sentence given to local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond for burning federal land.

Some of them also occupied a national wildlife refuge.

Ammon Bundy, is one of the protestors and son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights and was among the people to occupy the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, AP reported.

He posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come and help him.

Ammon Bundy chats with a protester Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, during a march on behalf of a Harney County ranching family in Burns, Ore. Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. [AP]

He said "This is not a time to stand down. It's a time to stand up and come to Harney County," where Burns is located.

Bundy and his militia friends support the local ranchers, and objects to jail term given to them.

In an interview with the Associated Press at the wildlife refuge on Sunday, Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy's brother, said the protesters' ultimate goal is to turn the land over to local authorities so people can use it free of federal oversight.

They want to "restore the rights to people so they can use the land and resources" for ranching, logging, mining and recreation.

An sign of the National Wildlife Refuge System is seen at an entry of the wildlife refuge. [AP]

Ryan Bundy says the federal government has been "tromping on people's rights and privileges and properties and livelihoods."

"I understand the land needs to be used wisely, but that's what we as stewards need to do. A rancher is going to take care of his own ranch," Ryan Bundy said.

AP, TRTWorld and agencies