US Attorney Explains Events Leading to Oregon Standoff
The armed group that has taken over the visitor center at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon continued issuing so-called demands today. That story is detailed below, but the US Attorney for the Oregon District, Billy Williams, has issued a lengthy statement explaining the prosecution, and convictions of two Oregon ranchers that ultimately triggered the illegal occupation. You can find the complete statement HERE.
Here is the latest from the Associated Press...
BURNS, Ore. (AP) — A spokesman for the armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon says it wants authorities to look into claims that local ranchers have been intimidated by the federal government.
Ammon Bundy — one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights — told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly.
Bundy spoke at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns, Oregon. He says the group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. They want a response within five days. Bundy didn't say what the group would do if they didn't get a response.
Reporters have seen roughly 20 people at the remote national facility.
Meanwhile, the White House says President Barack Obama is following events in Oregon and hopes the situation can be resolved peacefully.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a Monday briefing that the administration's concern is for the safety of federal employees at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge but that none of them is in danger.
He says the FBI is monitoring the situation and offering support to local law enforcement.
The armed group came to the frozen high desert of eastern Oregon to contest the prison sentences of two ranchers who set fire to federal land, but their ultimate goal is to turn over the property to local authorities so people can use it free of U.S. oversight.