Oregon Armed Occupation Continues
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We're going to spend the next several minutes talking about that group of armed men who took over federal buildings in a national wildlife refuge in Oregon nearly a week ago. They say they are protesting federal land use policies. Law enforcement and many locals hope they'll decide to leave on their own. In a few minutes, though, we'll speak to a tribal leader whose tribe has a particular interest in what's going on on that wildlife refuge. But first, Dave Blanchard of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that even if the group does leave on their own, new supporters are arriving in Harney County ready to take up the anti-federalist cause themselves.
DAVE BLANCHARD, BYLINE: Local allies of protest leader Ammon Bundy have called on him to end the occupation at the refuge. One of the six members of the Committee of Safety, Melodi Molt, explained their reason.
MELODI MOLT: We feel that any good which may come out of this event has reached its full potential.
BLANCHARD: The occupiers offered no immediate plans to leave the refuge. Meanwhile, other groups that oppose federal ownership of land are arriving in Harney County. Brandon Curtiss is founder of the Pacific Patriots Network. He says members came from Oregon, Idaho and Washington state, though he wouldn't disclose how many.
BRANDON CURTISS: We're here to establish a security buffer between the gentlemen here at the refuge, the community citizens, as well as law enforcement.
BLANCHARD: A representative of Bundy, LaVoy Finicum, says they were grateful for their presence, though he urged them to put away their guns.
LAVOY FINICUM: We want the long guns put away. We want those put up, OK? We don't want things to look threatening. This thing is not to be threatening. This is to be peaceful.
BLANCHARD: Law enforcement in the area has yet to comment. There remains no law enforcement presence at the site of the occupation. For NPR News, I'm Dave Blanchard in Burns, Ore.