Oregon standoff: Demonstrations divide community; leader heads back to court

Video shows FBI shooting LaVoy Finicum
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Story highlights

  • Leader Ammon Bundy back in court Tuesday
  • Protesters took over a federal wildlife refuge January 2, denouncing federal land policies

Burns, Oregon (CNN)A month into the occupation of a federal wildlife facility in Oregon, the divisions over the anti-government standoff grew.

Hundreds rallied in Burns, outside the Harney County Courthouse.
The mood was tense at times as the groups chanted and sometimes shouted profanity at each other for about four hours on Monday. Authorities locked up the courthouse as a precautionary measure.
Protesters appeared to be evenly split between supporters of the remaining four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and local folks who want them to leave.
"Go home militia," "Stand down -- leave our town," and "You are not our voice," chanted residents who want the militia members to leave the community and take their cause elsewhere.
But the anti-government group appears resurgent after the arrest of 11 members and the death of a 12th.
"Hands up -- don't shoot," supporters chanted, borrowing a line from the Black Lives Matter campaign. "Go home FBI" and "You're under armed occupation by the Federal Government," also echoed in front of the courthouse.

Back in court

Group leader Ammon Bundy will be back in court on Tuesday. Up to this point, a federal judge has denied bond for all members of a group that occupied the federal wildlife facility.
Bundy is seeking to be released with a GPS ankle bracelet until his trial.​
Certified letter sent to the Harney County Sheriff by Cliven Bundy
Four members of the protest group remain inside the refuge. In a YouTube video posted Friday, a man said they would leave when they and all defendants were pardoned.
Bundy has urged the remaining protesters to "turn yourselves in and do not use physical force." He asked the holdouts to use the national platform they have to "defend liberty through our constitutional rights."
But his father, Cliven Bundy, has shown no signs of waving the white flag. In a certified letter to the Harney County County sheriff, the Nevada rancher said the group will retain possession of the refuge.

'I do love this country'

Ammon Bundy stood in court on Friday and told the judge why he and others took over the refuge.
"I do love this country very, very much," he said, according to CNN affiliate KPTV. "I love the people in it. And my only goal from the beginning was to protect freedom for the people."
But Judge Stacie Beckerman denied bond to Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Dylan Anderson and Jason Patrick, Oregon public radio reported.
According to charging documents, a source told a Harney County officer the group had explosives, night vision goggles and weapons, and that "if they didn't get the fight they wanted out there they would bring the fight to town."
All the defendants face a federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

FBI releases video of shooting

The armed occupation of the wildlife refuge, a protest of federal land policies, began to crumble last week when seven other occupiers were arrested on a desolate stretch of highway.
During the traffic stop, law enforcement officers shot and killed LaVoy Finicum, one of the protest group's most prominent members.
The occupiers said Finicum had his hands in the air when he was shot.
LaVoy Finicum dismantles what he said was a feds' spy camera in mid-January.
A law enforcement official told CNN that officers opened fire when Finicum reached toward his waistband, where he had a gun.
Greg Bretzing, the FBI's special agent in charge in Oregon, said Thursday that Finicum reached his hand toward a pocket on the inside of his jacket, at least twice, before he was shot. Finicum had a loaded handgun in that pocket, Bretzing said.
On Thursday, the FBI released video apparently taken from an aircraft that shows the shooting.
"We know there are various versions of what occurred during this event: most inaccurate, some inflammatory. To that end, we want to do what we can to lay out an honest and unfiltered view of what happened and how it happened," Bretzing said.
"I want to caution you that the video does show the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum. We realize that viewing that piece of the video will be upsetting to some people, but we feel that it is necessary to show the whole thing unedited in the interest of transparency."

'They just want to separate us'

In a video posted on YouTube on Friday, a man said the four would not leave until the government pardoned everybody who has been charged. The Oregonian identified the speaker as David Fry.
"They just want to separate us and get us all home so they can pick us off one by one at our houses without being stuck together as a group with guns," the man said.
Sean Anderson, one of the occupiers who remains, told CNN he is there with his wife and two others.
They want the FBI to let them walk away and return to their home states without being arrested or confronted, Anderson said.
If the occupiers, whom he calls his "fellow patriots," do not get assurance of an unimpeded exit, they are prepared to hold their ground, he said.
"No one here wants anyone to be hurt or die, but I am not afraid to die," Anderson said.

How much longer?

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A month into the occupation, the question remains: How much longer?
Ammon Bundy and others started out protesting the sentencing of Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, ranchers who were convicted of arson on federal lands in Oregon.
But a January 2 march supporting the Hammonds led to the armed occupation of the refuge, with protesters decrying what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.