A group of armed men has occupied the headquarters of a federal wildlife refuge in the US State of Oregon to protest the imminent jailing of two ranchers.
The group seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, located around 50 miles (80km) from Burns on Saturday, after two of its members were scheduled to go to prison for setting fire to federal government land, AFP reported.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s son Ammon spoke to the press, saying that the self-styled militia will not act in an aggressive manner and that they are there to “defend the people.”
He went on to urge people to join and show support to the armed men, saying, “We need people to come. We need you to come because we need to be united and we need to have a strong defense. That’s the way we can make sure that there’s no lives that are lost here.”
The siege came after some 300 people marched through Burns on Saturday, protesting the prosecution of county ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond.
Cliven Bundy’s three sons- Ammon, Ryan, and Mel are among the militia who took the protest further and went on to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. The refuge was unoccupied at the time.
Now a statement from the FBI says they are “working with the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and other local and state law enforcement agencies to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation.”