Things began to boil over quickly on Wednesday evening in Burns Oregon.
Federal agents on Wednesday closed in on the last four anti-government militants still holed up at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon after a 40-day armed occupation protesting federal land control in the West.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said that no shots had been fired and that negotiations were continuing to end the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote eastern Oregon without violence.
The FBI said the latest confrontation began after one of the protesters was seen riding an all-terrain vehicle outside the encampment.
A number of the occupiers were relating their account of events as they unfolded via an independent Internet broadcast, “Revolution Radio,” that is known to be sympathetic to the occupation.
The militants said FBI agents had moved to within 50 yards (45 meters) of the occupiers’ position in the compound, and one reported seeing FBI snipers on a nearby hillside with high-beam vehicle lights trained on the compound.
The remaining militia members at the Malheur national wildlife refuge tentatively agreed to walk off the refuge at 8am, appearing to back down after the FBI dramatically closed in on their occupation.
“We are not surrendering, we’re turning ourselves in,” Sean Anderson, one of the remaining militia members at the site near Burns, Oregon, said on a phone call with mediators, which was live-streamed on YouTube on Wednesday. “It goes against everything we believe in, but we’re going to do it.”
Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of a Nevada ranching family, was arrested upon arrival at PDX Wednesday night.
The 74-year-old was arrested by Portland FBI agents on a federal hold.
His specific charges have not yet been released.
Bundy is currently lodged in Multnomah County Jail. His booking photo is being temporarily withheld, the FBI said.
The Nevada rancher was at the center of a 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities over grazing rights on government land. His family still owes the federal government $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.
Cliven’s sons Ammon and Ryan are also jailed in Multnomah County. They were arrested along Highway 317 when the FBI intercepted a group of armed occupiersheading to a community meeting in John Day.
They are among over a dozen self-proclaimed patriots facing charges for occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.
Please pray for all involved.
Update – 9:19 AM local time: 8am has come and gone and the remaining members have not yet turned themselves in, but it appears they soon will. The Guardian has provided this update:
- Nevada assemblywoman Michele Fiore and Franklin Graham, a high-profile reverend, are on their way to the Malheur national wildlife refuge headquarters in rural Harney County with FBI officials. The plan is to escort the occupation holdouts out.
- The four holdouts are: Sandy Anderson, 48, Sean Anderson, 47,
Jeff Banta, 46, and David Fry, 27.
- The four were indicted by a federal grand jury last week on conspiracy charges and could face six years in prison.
Gavin Seim is hosting a livestream for those who wish to follow the events as they happen.