As the militia group in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge hunkers down for what they’ve stated could be “years” of occupation, residents in nearby Burns, Oregon are already feeling the effects in their lives.
The schools in Burns have closed for the week. There is an increasing presence of law enforcement. Even before the right-wing group seized the federal building in the wildlife refuge, some Burns, Oregon residents were unhappy with the number of outsiders in their town. Koin.com offered these statements by residents there: “I want them to go home. We take care of ourselves,” said Bee Bee Sitz. Kainan Jordan said, “I don’t think all of these outsiders coming here is necessary. I think they intimidate the local people.”
Even the Hammond family, of which two members are to report to federal prison today for arson convictions related to federal land they leased, released a statement via their attorney to Harney County Sheriff David Ward, “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family.” (CBSNews.com)
It all began as a peaceful demonstration of about 150 people, some of them local to Burns, Oregon, on Saturday, first with a 40-minute speech at the local safeway, then a one-mile march to the Hammond home and ended with a return to the Safeway parking lot, after stopping at Sheriff David Ward’s office to throw pennies, a symbolic gesture to show the protesters were buying back their government.
Afterwards, Ammon Bundy, self-proclaimed leader of the armed group, and brothers Ryan and Mel Bundy, along with an unspecified number of others, seized the headquarters building in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. At least one of the group’s stated intents is to force the federal government to give back lands to the people – to ranchers, loggers, miners and for recreation.
Cliven Bundy, father of the three Bundy brothers, has said in interviews that he has had nothing to do with the situation in Oregon, but that he thought the group felt that if the Hammonds weren’t going to take a stand, nor the local sheriff, that the group needed to do so and their behalf and that of all United States’ citizens.
Sheriff David Ward has released a statement to Harney County residents, advising them to stay away from the area of the wildlife refuge. Ward advised that “a collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution” and that more information would be provided to residents as it became available. (CBSNews.com)
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