As law enforcement surrounded the remaining protesters at an Oregon wildlife refuge Wednesday, an armed occupier urged supporters to join them and to kill any law enforcement officer who tried prevent their entry, according to a livestream that has been broadcasting from the site.
“There are no laws in this United States now! This is a free-for-all Armageddon!” a heavyset man holding a rifle yelled into a camera that was broadcasting a livestream from the refuge Wednesday morning, adding that if “they stop you from getting here, kill them!”
A second man cooed to the camera in a sing-song voice, “What you gonna do, what you gonna do when the militia comes after you, FBI?”
The FBI declined to release any details about how a spokesman for the protest group was killed during a confrontation with federal and state agencies a day earlier, citing a policy of not commenting on shooting incidents while they are under review.
The sudden move to arrest ranking protest leaders on a rural stretch of highway Tuesday afternoon was “a very deliberate and measured response” to the armed occupation that had lasted since Jan. 2 with no end in sight, Gregory T. Bretzing, special agent in charge of Portland’s FBI division, said at a Wednesday morning news conference.
“We’ve worked diligently to bring the situation” at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., to “a peaceful end,” Bretzing said.
He added that the FBI and Oregon State Police’s surprise arrests of protesters confronted outside the refuge Tuesday was deliberately carried far from county residents and that agents were cognizant of “removing the threat of danger from anybody who might be present.”
But he said he could not release details about how protester spokesman and Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed, citing an ongoing investigation. A pair of unverified videos from a man and a woman who claimed to be traveling with the protesters when they were arrested said that Finicum was shot after he sped away from law enforcement during a traffic stop.
Several members of the group — including one of its most prominent leaders, Ammon Bundy, 40 — were expected to make their initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon to face charges of government intimidation.
Meanwhile, the standoff continues….