The Oregon standoff trial against Ammon Bundy and other individuals who participated in an armed standoff with the local sheriff over the Oregon Wildlife refuge has begun.
The Oregon standoff was part of an initiative spearheaded by Ryan Bundy and other individuals who claim that they were acting in defense of the people of Oregon’s high desert country. The group argued that they were trying to protect the locals from the federal government, which they claim has been abusing their land rights for years. Bundy explained his actions to the court during a court trial against him and six other individuals.
“I felt we were not there to break the law but to enforce the law.”
The Oregon standoff trial saw the plaintiffs argue out their actions to the court. Ryan Bundy, who acted as his own legal representative, told the court that he was not against the government as long as things were handled the right way.
The case presented against the plaintiffs in the Oregon standoff trial states that Bundy and his gang conspired to commit an armed takeover of the wildlife refuge in Oregon. The prosecution also stated that the plaintiffs also threatened the local sheriff a few weeks prior to the occupation, which started at the beginning of the year. The defense, however, presented a counter argument that the Oregon standoff was an action intended to render the federal government accountable and that Bundy did not issue threats to anyone.
The claims were presented as part of the opening statements in the case, which took place on Tuesday. The case has incited a lot of tension throughout the nation as questions arise over how the federal government deals with land-use policies. The case has also sparked a lot of talk on social media networks as people express their views on the matter.
Bundy brothers accused of ‘dangerous’ invasion as Oregon standoff trial begins https://t.co/x7oFem2plu— The Guardian (@guardian) September 13, 2016
The Bundy brothers and their supporters had planned a 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in protest against the federal government for preventing ranchers and other firms from fostering economic development through the land. The group also argued that the federal government had been exercising too much control over public lands.
Federal prosecutor Geoffrey Barrow told the jurors that the Bundy brothers and the other five people crossed the line when they threatened federal employees during the occupation.
“Everyone in this great nation has a right to his or her beliefs. We are not prosecuting the defendants because we don’t like what they think or said,” Barrow told the jurors.
Barrows argues that the plaintiffs were being prosecuted because of their actions. He dismissed Ammon Bundy’s claims that the group’s actions were a legitimate protest against the management of the federal land. The Bundy brothers have ties to the Nevada ranching family, which has been in constant disputes over land use for quite some time. The protest was initially fueled by the conviction of two ranchers for setting fires and later turned to a demand for the federal government to hand over public land to the locals.
There is a lot of controversy as to whether the Bundy brothers and the other protestors acted within the law. The prosecution was particularly keen on presenting a claim that Mr. Bundy threatened the sheriff. Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus Mumford went on the defense claiming that Bundy had no intention of threatening the sheriff when the two met.
“He asked if he was going to stand up for the citizens or not.”
The lawyer also pointed out that the actions of the group were within the law and that they were based on a doctrine known as “adverse possession,” which allows an individual to take possession of a property that is subject to dispute.
A lot of people are following up on the case and that is evident by the significant number of people that showed up to protest outside the court during Tuesday’s hearing. The plaintiffs claim that they are confident that the Oregon standoff trial will turn out in their favor.
[Photo by Don Ryan/AP Images]