An armed anti government group vowed Sunday to continue to occupy a federal wildlife refuge building in rural Oregon indefinitely, in protest of the government’s treatment of two local ranchers.
Federal officials said that they were monitoring the takeover, but there did not appear to be an imminent plan to confront the protesters.
The Oregon State Police warned local residents to stay away from the wildlife refuge on Sunday “for their safety” and said it was working with other law enforcement agencies to bring the occupation to an end.
The authorities said they believed that no other areas of Harney County were “in immediate danger.”
“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States,” the Oregon police said in a statement on Sunday.
Protesters marched in Burns, Ore., on Saturday in support of two ranchers who were ordered to serve more time in prison The occupation began on Saturday afternoon following a peaceful demonstration in which more than 100 people marched through downtown Burns, Ore., to protest the prison sentences of two ranchers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46. The Hammonds have been ordered to report to prison in California on Monday after a federal judge ruled that the sentences they had served for arson were not long enough under federal law.