In a brief press conference Monday, David Ward, the sheriff of Harney County, Oregon — where anti-extremists have taken over a federal wildlife center to protest government land polices — told the occupiers to go home to their families.
“You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County, that help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed occupation,” Ward said. “It is time for you to leave our community. Go home to your families and end this peacefully.”
The leaders of siege — some of whom were associated with the government showdown at the Cliven Bundy ranch in 2014 — have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, to protest jail sentences two local ranchers face for burning public land. Those ranchers, however, have turned themselves to the government, the sheriff said. Their families have distanced themselves from the militia men.
In the press conference, Ward noted those involved at the takeover came in from out of state.
“This event has significantly impacted our community. Our goal is work together to restore calm and regular services for the people for the community,” he said.