An armed militia group took over a federal building in Burns, Oregon on Saturday night, following a massive protest against the impending incarceration of two local ranchers.
The group, joined by Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, stormed the unoccupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge and seized control. The group claims it intends to stay on the federal property for “years” and is demanding the government relinquish control of the Malheur National Forest, currently under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The occupation comes after more than 300 people marched through Burns, Oregon to protest the arrests of Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammon Jr. and Steven Hammond. The pair were convicted in 2012 for the intentional torching of federal property in 2001, which destroyed upward of 139 acres of land.
There may be as many as 100 militia men in the Wildlife Refuge headquarters. No hostages have been taken, but Bundy's brother Ryan says the group will resort to violence if necessary.
In a phone call, Ammon Bundy said,
In a video posted to his Facebook account, Bundy called for supporters to arm themselves and join the militia at the wildlife refuge.
Law enforcement officials have yet to comment, but sources say multiple agencies, including the FBI, are involved.
Read more here and stay tuned for updates.