Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What happens next at Oregon wildlife refuge after Bundy arrests?

Are protesters still at the wildlife refuge?
Yes, it appears so, though it's unclear how many. Numbers have fluctuated since the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters began in early January.  CNN's Sara Sidner, who visited the refuge earlier this month, said she saw dozens of people there, mostly men. After Tuesday's arrests, the usually outspoken group didn't specify how many remain. Gov. Kate Brown called for patience while officials work toward a "swift and peaceful resolution."
What do the occupiers plan to do next?
Occupiers who remained Wednesday morning told journalist John Sepulvado -- reporting from inside the refuge but outside the headquarters -- that they planned to stay and were prepared to die. "I just spoke to the new leaders -- including Jason Patrick -- They say that 5-6 (people) had a meeting, and by consensus they decided to stay," Sepulvado wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter. Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, had said he and others were prepared to stay in the building for days, weeks or months if necessary. They have enough food and other supplies, he said, to see them through for a long time. The younger Bundy repeatedly warned that the armed occupiers don't intend to harm anyone but said that if law enforcement or others try to force them from the building, they would defend themselves.
On Tuesday, the group said on its unverified Facebook page that it was "at a heightened level of alert" and asked for prayers.
What happens next?
That depends on whether the rest of the occupiers leave. Keeping an eye on them apparently hasn't been cheap. The price tag on the occupation so far is costing Oregon about $100,000 a week, the governor said. She wants reimbursement from the federal government for those mounting costs. Then there's the legal process. All eight people arrested Tuesday face a federal felony charge relating to their occupation of the refuge: conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, authorities said. It's unclear when they'll make their first court appearances. Also unclear is how exactly the arrests unfolded, and who fired first.
"The situation in Harney County continues to be the subject of a federal investigation that is in progress. My highest priority is the safety of all Oregonians and their communities," the governor said in a statement...more

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