Forty-one days after it began, the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a group of militant anti-government protesters ended with the peaceful surrender of the last four holdouts giving themselves up to the FBI on Feb. 11, 2016.
Negotiations between the FBI and the four protesters, Sean Anderson and wife Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho, Jeffery Banta of Elko, Nevada , and David Fry of Banchester, Ohio went on throughout Wednesday night. Michelle Fiore, Republican member of the Nevada state Assembly, also took part in the attempt to defuse the situation, encouraging the militia members to surrender peacefully.
On Thursday morning, Feb. 11, 2016, three of the protesters surrendered themselves to the FBI after leaving their weapons behind at the refuge. One of the conditions of their surrender was that Fiore and evangelical minister Franklin Graham be among the agents to receive them.
David Fry remained in place, refusing to give up his weapons or to surrender saying, “I declare war against the federal government because they have been trampling on my first amendment rights, so there is no way to beat this any more but liberty or death,” as he threatened suicide. (Mashable.com) Fry had demonstrated agitation after his three companions surrendered and even as he spoke by phone to Fiore, Graham and the FBI. At approximately 2 p.m. Fry turned himself over to authorities.
The negotiations between authorities and the protesters and conversations between Fiore, Graham and others with the protesters were broadcast live via an independent Internet site that sympathized with the refuge group.
The four holdouts were arrested and charged with conspiracy to interfere with a federal agent, as were group leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy who were arrested in late January 2016. Cliven Bundy, father of the Bundy brothers, was arrested by federal authorities on Wednesday evening, Feb. 10, 2016 on the same charges.
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