Leader of Oregon Occupation Appears At Meeting, Some Say 'Go Home!' – NBCNews.com
The leader of an armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge made an unannounced visit to a community meeting Tuesday, where he was met with jeers from some who have had enough of the group and its protest.
“I agree with you 100 percent, but get out of my yard!” one Harney County man told group leader Ammon Bundy at the community meeting in Burns, NBC affiliate KTVZ reported.
The group took over a federal building at the public Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns on Jan. 2, and has refused requests from law enforcement to leave.
Their stated goal is the reversal of prison sentences imposed on two local ranchers convicted of burning government land, and the release of public land owned by the federal government to local control.
The group has been criticized by local officials as being made up of activists from out of state, who have “hijacked” the cause of the imprisoned ranchers. Bundy lives in Arizona.
The crowd applauded and chanted “Go! Home!” after Harney County Judge Steve Grasty called on Bundy to leave the refuge.
But others expressed support for Bundy’s group, saying they are raising important land use issues. Bundy did not address the crowd. About half of the crowd expressed support for the occupiers and their goals.
Earlier Tuesday, Harney County Sheriff David Ward said the occupiers are criminals, and that anyone caught driving vehicles stolen from the federal government would be arrested.
“Every time a trespasser from the refuge operates a vehicle that belongs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they are committing a crime,” Harney County Sheriff David Ward said in a statement Tuesday.
“We will not tolerate it when they come into our community driving stolen vehicles,” Ward said.
Two people connected to the group have been arrested since the occupation began. The occupation was in its 18th day Tuesday.
Kenneth Medenbach, of LaPine, was arrested Friday outside a Safeway grocery store in Burns where two U.S. Fish and Wildlife vehicles reported stolen were recovered. A second person fled before police arrived, the sheriff’s office said.
Dwane Kirkland, of Montana, was arrested Thursday on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the sheriff’s office said.
The FBI has said it is working toward a peaceful resolution of the situation.