Friday, January 15, 2016

Armed occupiers promise plan to leave refuge, but signal longer stay

As the armed occupation of a Harney County wildlife refuge drags into its 13th day, protesters are sending mixed signals about their plans. On one hand, Ammon Bundy and his followers who have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge planned to announce their exit strategy to the community Friday. But they've also contacted nearby sheriffs and other officials looking for support. They've accumulated a large stash of food and supplies after making pleas to supporters online. And at a daily press briefing Thursday, Bundy held forth on the subject of patience, saying he believed the continued presence of the occupiers was giving the county residents courage and hope. "This hope is building and it's a slow process," Bundy said. "We know it has to happen now. We know this is the place, Harney County, and that these are the people." He didn't offer an update on his plans, nor on the the planned meeting where he previously said he would announce plans to leave. Bundy and his affiliates are still seeking a place to hold the meeting after the county government said it couldn't be held at the county fairgrounds. Protesters have indicated they would decamp if county residents wanted them to leave. At past community meetings, many people have been vocal in asking Bundy and the others to go home...more

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