An armed group took over some federal buildings in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon on Saturday. Dressed in full fatigues, Blaine Cooper and Ammon Bundy are leading the protest. Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, who inspired an armed standoff with the feds in Nevada two years ago over his cattle grazing on public lands. Three of Cliven Bundy’s sons are in the group holed up at the wildlife refuge. They say they’re there to support local farmers, Dwight Hammond and his son Steven. The two Hammonds were convicted of arson after a fire they set on their ranch spread, burning 140 acres of public land. Federal prosecutors argued that they set the fire to cover the tracks of their illegal deer hunting on public land.
The Hammonds are expected to turn themselves in today to serve five years in prison. This conflict over land rights in the rural West between locals and the federal government has a history.