After 40 days, the FBI began an attempt to end the standoff at the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, and the high-stakes negotiation were caught on YouTube lifestream.
According to a statement from the FBI, law enforcement officials moved into the refuge Wednesday after spotting an ATV vehicle driving outside of a perimeter established by the militia. Law enforcement approached the individual and “he returned to the encampment at the refuge at a high rate of speed.” Then, the FBI surrounded the compound and created barricades.
A lot was still unknown, but according to the FBI, the negotiations were still ongoing. The Oregonian reported that occupier David Fry’s was airing audio, allegedly from the compound on YouTube.
Oregon Public Broadcasting was reporting that Michele Fiore, a Nevada assemblywoman, was also heard on the live stream through another telephone call. She had landed earlier in Portland, Oregon, where she had planned to protest in support of leaders of the standoff who were arrested two weeks ago. She said that she was willing to come to the refuge and meet with the FBI.
It could not be immediately confirmed who could be heard on the live stream from the refuge, but based on who is known to be still at the refuge and the context of the highly agitated conversations, it appeared to include occupiers Sean Anderson and his wife Sandy. Sean Anderson could be heard shouting loudly about his concerns that he would go to prison if he did surrender and that he would be separated from his wife Sandy. In the background, Sandy Anderson could be heard saying she was afraid she “would never see the light of day again.”
“Kill us and get it over with,” Sandy Anderson screamed at one point.
Assemblywoman Fiore was on the phone with the Andersons and could be heard on the live stream. She tried to keep the occupiers calm by asking them to “stay alive” and reflect on their families who would miss them, but the emotions were running high.
“They were not in our lives before all this,” Sean Anderson said. “That does not matter here.”
At one point, Sean Anderson blamed the media’s lack of interest in the standoff.
“They are covering it now because they hope there is bloodshed,” Sean screamed about what he viewed as media bias.
The full FBI statement on the latest developments:
At approximately 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, one of the occupiers rode an ATV outside the barricades established by the militia at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. FBI agents attempted to approach the driver, and he returned to the encampment at the refuge at a high rate of speed.
At this time, the FBI has moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind the area where the occupiers are camping. Negotiations between the occupiers and the FBI continue. No shots have been fired.
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area,” said Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
Wednesday marks day 40 of the occupation of the refuge.
Further updates will be released as appropriate