Group seemingly looking to create a standoff with the federal government.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
A group of militants has brought the small Eastern Oregon town of Burns into the national spotlight.
They have camped out at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a standoff with the federal government.
Several of the right-wing militia members are sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher whose fight with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sparked an armed confrontation with federal officials in 2014.
Militia members have been traveling to the town of Burns, Ore. in recent weeks in support of Harney County rancher Dwight Hammond, Jr. and his son Steven Hammond, who in 2012 were convicted of arson for setting fires on federal land where they had poached deer. (The wildfires burned 139 acres of Bureau of Land Management property in 2001.)
(READ MORE: Willamette Week)
The Hammonds have said they are not a part of the occupiers.
Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy’s son, said in a video posted on Facebook that militiamen from across the nation were being asked to come to Harney County and “live” in the refuge headquarters building. “We’re planning on staying here for several years,” Bundy said.
In a Jan. 1 statement, Cliven Bundy, who was involved in an armed standoff with federal authorities near his Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch because of a 20-year legal dispute, said the U.S. government had no authority in Harney County. He urged the Hammonds to turn themselves in to the Harney County sheriff and seek “protective custody.”
(READ MORE: Portland Tribune)
If their goal was to gain media attention, it appears they have succeeded:
.@martinkaste visits wildlife refuge this morning. Says “media staff easily outnumber the occupiers.”
— Ryan Haas (@ryanjhaas) January 4, 2016