Saturday, January 16, 2016
Occupiers remove cameras, clash with conservationists
The morning news briefing that has become routine over the 15-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge descended into a shouting match Saturday, complete with a bullhorn and name-calling, after a trio of conservationists tried to speak.
The spectacle erupted just after occupiers arrived for the briefing with a wicker basket full of security cameras they said they'd removed at the behest of residents and accused the government of harassing their families.
"This in my opinion is unreasonable search," said LaVoy Finicum, referencing the Fourth Amendment as he held up one of the cameras he claimed had been installed by the FBI. He invited the agency to "come pick them up."
...Members of the Center for Biological Diversity, led by executive director Kierán Suckling, arrived for Saturday briefing carrying signs and waiting for an opening to speak against the seizure of the wildlife refuge 30 miles south of Burns.
When Finicum finished, Suckling picked up the mic.
"The center has been tangling with the Bundys since the mid-1990s," Suckling said of the Arizona-based nonprofit, which claims more than 990,000 members and activists dedicated to protecting wild places and endangered species. But before he could finish, the occupiers started screaming and booing.
"We're here to speak up for public land, which belongs to the public," Suckling continued over the roar.