In a lengthy and often rambling press conference Monday, occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, said they had decided to call themselves "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom."
Among their demands, the group said they wanted the U.S. government to relinquish its control of the wildlife refuge so that people "can reclaim their resources."
Ammond Bundy insisted that he had been communicating with law enforcement officials "through back channels" and that "They intend not to come up on us."
Meanwhile, the Oregonian reported Monday that the occupiers had taken to social media to "recruit supporters" to their cause.
ORIGINAL POST: January 4, 2015 9 a.m.
- Adam Rosenlund
An armed self-professed militia group which took over a federal building in southeastern Oregon over the New Year weekend, say they won't move until they get what they want. But they have specified exactly what that is.
The armed gunmen seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge January 2nd, not far from the town of Burns, Ore. But the takeover provided little drama since no employees were at the building due to the New Year holiday. Among the the occupiers are Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who gained national headlines in 2014 during another standoff with the feds. Ammon Bundy told CNN that, like his father, he's standing up to the federal government over land rights.
"We have no intentions of using force upon anyone," Bundy told CNN. "If force is used against us, we would defend ourselves."
The Oregon takeover was sparked by a five-year prison sentence of of Dwight and Steven Hammond, convicted of starting a 2011 fire on federal land. The Hammonds argued that their fire was to reduce the growth of invasive plants. But federal authorities said the fire soon got out of hand, torching 130 acres of public land. Additionally, the feds said the Hammonds' fire was an attempt to cover-up alleged poaching on the public land. The Hammonds were expected to turn themselves into an Oregon prison sometime on Monday.
But the Bundys, along with a few supporters, said the Hammods are victims of government overreach.
"We need to defend ourselves," Ammon Bundy told CBS News. "There's an imminent threat towards us and it is our right to do that," Bundy said. "We are serious about being here and we are serious about defending our rights, about getting some things straightened out but we have no intention of using any type of force, intimidation."
Bundy told CBS news his group hasn't yet negotiated with any government entity to peacefully end the occupation, but they'll "stay as long as it takes for their demands to be met," although he was not specific about any demands.
Meanwhile, CBS News reports that a lawyer representing the Hammonds has distanced the Hammonds from the Bundys.
"Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family," wrote attorney W. Alan Schroeder.