Large Group Of Armed Militia Members Take Over Federal Building

CREDIT: Cacophony

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, which was seized by a group of militia on Saturday, January 2, 2016

A large group of armed militia members have broken into and occupied a federal building in Oregon. The group reportedly includes three sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who had a tense standoff with federal officials in 2014.

Radical militia members from across the country descended on Harney County, Oregon today to protest the conviction of two local ranchers for arson on federal land. They claim “that the federal government had no authority in Harney County.” The militia occupying the headquarters building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a splinter group from the larger protest. The gambit seems intended “to provoke a standoff with the federal government.”

In a phone interview with the Oregonian, Ammond Bundy said that “would not rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them.” He called the headquarters building “the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds” and said he was “planning on staying…for years.” In a message on Facebook Bundy said he planned on establishing the facility as a base for militia members across the country:

Here it is. Please know these men will speak to people civilly. Do not go up there guns blazing. Stay safe and smart.

Posted by Sarah Dee Spurlock on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cliven Bundy is also advising the local ranchers, Steven and Dwight Hammond, not to submit to federal authorities as required on Monday. Instead, Bundy is urging them to go to the Harney County jail and ask for “protective custody.”

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE:CLIVEN D. BUNDYPO Box 7175Bunkerville, NV 89007702-346-5564 …

Posted by Bundy Ranch on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Meanwhile, Cliven’s son Ammon is reportedly rallying other militia members to join the occupation.

In an ominous sign, one member of the group, Jon Ritzheimer, posted a goodbye video to his family on YouTube today. “I want to die a free man,” Ritzheimer says.

UPDATE JAN 2, 2016 11:16 PM

A photo of the scene by Guardian reporter Jason Wilson:

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UPDATE JAN 3, 2016 12:14 AM

In response to the armed occupation, the local school district has closed schools all week:

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