The Oregon standoff, which began on January 2, has now entered its 30th day. Since the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was occupied by armed militia members with a grudge against the federal government, the situation has escalated from a political protest to something much more. As Mother Jones reported, one militia member who’d been involved in the Oregon standoff since the beginning, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot and killed while trying to bypass a roadblock on January 26.
Following Finicum’s death, eight additional Oregon standoff participants were either arrested or turned themselves in, including the now-notorious Bundy brothers, Ammon and Ryan. Ammon Bundy, the self-professed leader of the armed Oregon standoff, is now incarcerated without bond and has called on remaining occupiers of the federal wildlife refuge to end their siege and go home.
Ryan Bundy was also shot during the arrest and sustained non life-threatening injuries to his arm. Like his brother, he remains incarcerated without bond.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 29, 2016
Despite pleas from the organizer of the Oregon standoff for the remaining protesters to pack up and go home, the four remaining holdouts have chosen to continue their occupation. Yahoo News reports that the handful of lingering and defiant Oregon standoff members refuse to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge until they are guaranteed immunity from prosecution for their parts in the armed occupation and that they are ready to die to defend their position.
Both citizens of nearby Burns, Oregon, and law enforcement have repeatedly expressed a desire to bring the month-long Oregon standoff to a close as quickly and peacefully as possible, despite the refusal of the four remaining militia members to vacate the federal reserve.
While the few stragglers occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge refuse to vacate, the citizens of Burns just want them gone. Many locals reportedly have little sympathy for the holdouts who now expect immunity from prosecution, despite their participation in an occupation that’s left one dead and another wounded. Yahoo News reports that the remaining presence has caused massive disruption in Burns, Oregon, and many are sick of it.
“We just want to go back to the way we were. We want everyone to leave us alone.”
— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) January 23, 2016
If information coming from inside the Oregon standoff is to be believed, residents may be one step closer to getting their wish.
Today, OPB reports that David Frey, one of the remaining occupiers, has said that he believes the FBI is interfering with the militant’s ability to communicate. Frey reportedly told the news organization that the FBI is cracking down on the communication abilities of the standoff members’ cellphones. He went on to say that while he can receive incoming calls, he is unable to make outgoing calls. Frey said other members of the group can neither make nor receive calls, and that the remaining members of the Oregon standoff no longer have Internet access.
In addition to reportedly cutting off lines of communication to and from the militia members still holed up at the Oregon wildlife reserve, authorities have also set up a barricade around the facility. Another remaining militant, Sean Anderson, reportedly told OPB that he is frustrated with the group’s inability to communicate freely with the media.
Reportedly, Sunday phone calls to the landline have resulted in only a busy signal, and the source of this story is waiting for law enforcement to confirm the veracity of the words of the remaining Oregon standoff holdouts at this time.
Because the situation in Oregon is still volatile and unfolding, it is unknown at this time whether local law enforcement or the FBI will be willing to comment on the details of how they attempt to bring the Oregon standoff to an end.
[Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images]