Negotiations to surrender currently live-streaming from the scene on YouTube (below)
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy arrested on way to Malheur wildlife refuge, will appear in court at 1.30pm PT
Remaining militia members had tentatively agreed to walk off refuge at 8am PT after night of frantic negotiations
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, arrived at the standoff site in Burns, Ore., around 8 a.m. PT., at about the time when one of the occupiers, Sean Anderson, said the group planned to turn themselves in at a nearby FBI checkpoint.
Graham, who is based in North Carolina, said on his Facebook page that he had been speaking with the four holdouts by phone everyday at the request of the protesters and the FBI.
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“Last night I was on the phone with them for several hours, was able to have prayer with them, and they have said they would come out today,” he said in the Wednesday night post. “I am on my way there and hope to be there by 7:00 AM their time. Please keep them, law enforcement officials, and all involved in your prayers, that everyone will be safe.”
In the final moments leading up to the planned surrender, discussions between the holdouts and Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore, a sympathizer who flew to Oregon, were being livestreamed in an online broadcast.
SLOW MOTION VIDEO Of protester and patriot, Lavoy Finicum shooting death by FBI:
Oregon Protester’s Interview Voicing Concerns The Day Before He Was Killed…WATCH VIDEO HERE
Cliven Bundy charged with assault, conspiracy
Some breaking news from outside of the refuge: The Associated Press is reporting that Cliven Bundy has been charged with assault and conspiracy for his 2014 standoff with the federal government at his Nevada ranch.
The 69-year-old rancher has for years refused to pay grazing fees to the government to have his cattle use public lands. The dispute reached a head when federal officials attempted to seize his cattle and armed anti-government protesters came to his aid.
He still owes the government more than $1m.
Cliven Bundy was arrested late Wednesday night in Portland. Earlier in the evening, he told the Guardian he was on his way to Oregon to support the occupiers. He is currently in jail in Portland.
David Fry is telling the more than 25,000 listeners on the live YouTube stream that he fears going to prison.
“They need to address my grievances. They need to promise me absolute protection,” Fry said. “Even if I go to prison, they should promise me absolute protection.”
He also said he worried he would be attacked by other prisoners.
Gavin Seim, the live-streamer, told him not to be afraid: “Don’t be intimidated by a jail or prison cell.” He said the people in jail are like him – others who have been “abused by the government”.
Fry continued: “I can’t come out guys. I can’t do it.”
David Fry said on the live-stream that Jeff Banta, one of the four holdouts, is now leaving the occupation and surrendering.
Fry, however, is now shouting demands at the FBI: “Unless my grievances are heard, I will not come out!”
Gavin Seim, the live-streamer, tried to keep him calm: “Go and walk out there like the others … We’ve got the world watching.”
“They haven’t even promised anything, really. I didn’t agree to any of this, really. I’m kind of worried that they are just going to ignore us,” Fry said.
Seim responded: “It’s in God’s hands.”
Occupiers walking out
Sean Anderson has just said that FBI officials have told them to exit the refuge one at a time. Michele Fiore is no longer on the live-feed.
“You coming out, Sean?” Gavin Seim asked
“Coming out!” Sean shouted on the video. “They’re walking toward us.”
“It looks like they’ve got guns pointed at us,” David Fry said, adding that Jeff Banta is next to him.
“They are basically patting her down and I think they are going to apprehend her there,” Fry said of Sandy Anderson. “Now, Sean is standing there holding the American flag in his hand.”
Nevada assemblywoman Michele Fiore and Franklin Graham, a high-profile reverend, are on their way to the Malheur national wildlife refuge headquarters in rural Harney County with FBI officials. The plan is to escort the occupation holdouts out.
The four holdouts are: Sandy Anderson, 48, Sean Anderson, 47,
Jeff Banta, 46, and David Fry, 27.
The four were indicted by a federal grand jury last week on conspiracy charges and could face six years in prison.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested in Portland last night and will appear in court at 1.30pm today.
From evening of February 10:
00:09: Occupiers say they will meet FBI at checkpoint at 8am
The tone of the occupiers is becoming more conciliatory.
Sean Anderson tells Seim that the FBI has offered to meet them at a checkpoint at 8am (PST) on Thursday.
He says the four of them have agreed to leave their weapons in their vehicles before approaching the checkpoint.
Both Andersons say they want the media to be present at the checkpoint.
“The world’s going to be watching,” says Seim. “They’re not just going to haul you away into the darkness.”
The feed of the live phone call is at turns disturbing and downright surreal. There was just a moment of sheer panic when Sean Anderson announced he was going to light an outdoor heater.
“I am going to light a propane heater cos we are standing out here freezing cold,” he said.
“Don’t do that, don’t do that,” replied Congresswoman Fiore.
There appeared to be a frantic attempt to communicate with the FBI that the occupiers were on the cusp of lighting their heater, so they didn’t misunderstand what was happening.
Amid discussions about whether there were flammable materials in the area, and attempts to implore Anderson not to light the heater, he replied: “I am going to go ahead and light this so my wife can be warm. If they shoot them that’s on their fucking ass.”
He lit the heater.
Lights are seen from the Narrows roadblock near Burns, Oregon, as FBI agents surrounded the remaining four occupiers at the Malheur national wildlife refuge. Photograph: Thomas Boyd/AP
More vehicles are approaching the refuge, the occupiers are saying.
They broke through our barricades, they object.
Fiore: ‘I’m not asking you to give up’
Fiore – who appears to be acting as a curious mixture of negotiator and cheerleader – tells the occupiers that they are engaged in a battle to take America back.
She is being driven to the refuge now, in a journey expected to take around four hours.
Fiore says her cellphone signal might drop as they drive through mountains, but says the FBI will not act while the signal is down (we don’t have confirmation of that alleged agreement from the FBI).
“In order to stay alive, I have to submit and be a slave,” Sean Anderson shouts. He compares himself to Braveheart.
“I’m not asking you to give up,” Fiore tells him.
Associated Press has further background information on two of the occupiers, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson:
The husband and wife moved from the town of Janesville, Wisconsin, within the last several years to Riggins, Idaho, where Sean, 47, opened a store for hunting, tactical and survival gear. Sandy, 48, worked at a gas station.
Idaho County, where they live, and Harney County, 290 miles away where the refuge is located, are similar in many ways. Both have large portions of land managed by federal agencies and populations chafing at restrictions put on that land.
Idaho county sheriff Doug Giddings said the Andersons are good residents, though he didn’t know as much about Sean as he did about Sandy.
“She’s a good person, she’s just upset with the government,” he told Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Sean Anderson is facing misdemeanor charges in Wisconsin for resisting an officer, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana.
He also has pleaded guilty to a series of misdemeanors in recent years: domestic abuse in December 2010, disorderly conduct in 2008, criminal trespass in a dwelling in 2002, and disorderly conduct in 1999.
A friend of the couple, Lindsey Dipo, told the Lewiston Tribune newspaper that the couple recorded their will on Dipo’s cellphone before departing for Oregon.
The occupiers – and Fiore on the other end of the phone line – break off frequently to pray.
Sandy Anderson is angered because she says the FBI negotiators interrupted one prayer session.
Fiore says this is good – it shows the FBI is listening to the broadcast and they know what is happening.
“If they won’t give us one more day … we’re just going to stay here and fucking die,” Sean Anderson says.
Cliven Bundy on his way to the refuge
Cliven Bundy has confirmed in a phone interview with the Guardian just now that he is on his way to the refuge.
“I hope I save some lives, for one thing,” he said.
The elder Bundy said he decided to go to Harney County after he saw the FBI was closing in on the occupiers:
I guess if they wanted to murder somebody tonight, that’d be a good way to do it.
I don’t know whether I’ll be a negotiator or maybe a demander. I think we oughta take this country back and I think it’s time the feds get out of there.
Bundy said he has not heard from law enforcement:
I’m not really talking to the FBI. As far as I’m concerned, they have no jurisdiction or authority there.
Bundy declined to say if anyone else was with him or how long it would take him to get there.
Sean Anderson says he wants assurances that the four occupiers won’t face prosecution.
“They can drop charges, they do it all the time – for people who are way worse than we are,” he told Fiore.
The occupiers are also telling the assemblywoman that Franklin Graham, a reverend from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is in discussions with them. The occupiers said the FBI may consider letting them walk out at 7am Thursday morning with Graham.
But Sean Anderson said he wasn’t confident they would get out alive: “How can we trust what they are saying?”
Sean Anderson, one of the occupiers, has just announced what he calls their “concession” – that the four of them will leave the refuge in daylight on Thursday if they are allowed to be accompanied by Congresswoman Fiore and Christian evangelist Franklin Graham.
He says the FBI must now offer its own concession in return.
According to a Facebook page associated with the militia, Cliven Bundy – father of Ammon Bundy and himself involved in an earlier standoff with officials – is on his way to the site of the siege.
However, the FBI has reportedly told the four occupiers that nobody will be able to enter the property.
Helicopters heard over the refuge
Paul Lewis Paul Lewis
The live broadcast just captured the moment the occupiers heard helicopters above the refuge.
“The black hawks are here and they’re going to kill us,” said one voice, which appeared to be David Fry, the most agitated of the occupiers.
He added moments later: “If they fire first, my weapon is in reach and I’m going to take them with me.”
Gavin Seim, the rightwing activist who is running the Youtube broadcast, led a group prayer for those inside, and assured them that leader Ammon Bundy, who in prison, has been taken out of solitary confinement.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore – who is also on the line, acting as a mediator – is also encouraging the remaining occupiers to remain calm. “I need you to stay alive. The only way we’re going to be able to write your story and write your book is if you stay alive.”
The occupiers appear to have a separate line to the FBI, and are relaying that they’ve been told no one will be allowed on to the refuge until they leave.
“They want us to leave. They said the time for concessions has passed,” Sandy Anderson said.
The details are sketchy, and the audio in parts inaudible, but it appears that one proposal is for a local figure, possibly a reverend, to join the occupiers and lead them off the site.
David Fry, the 27-year-old occupier from Ohio, has become increasingly agitated on the live stream, shouting at Fiore and his fellow protesters.
Fry made headlines when he posted video of himself using government computers to create a website for the occupation.
According to a recent profile of Fry by Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), his antics led many in the militia to grow frustrated with him, with some wanting him to leave.
Fry had previously communicated with militia spokesman LaVoy Finicum online, and Finicum had reportedly encouraged the young occupier to stay.
Fry’s family told the radio station that he has frequently had problems with authorities.
“He’s had his problems, some of which he’s brought on himself,” his grandfather, William Fry, told OPB.
“He gets pulled over for busted taillights, and instead of just rolling down his window and handing over his insurance, he screams at the officer, ‘What the [expletive] do you want?’ And right there, a regular thing turns into him in handcuffs.”
Fry also often writes about conspiracy theories online.
Via: The Guardian
The occupation at Malheur started on 2 January in response to the conviction of two local ranchers on arson charges. Our explainer has more on the background to the 40-day standoff:
One protester has been shot dead and eight others were arrested on Tuesday after a confrontation between police and an armed group that has taken over a federal wildlife reserve in Oregon.
What were the circumstances of the shooting?
The FBI said shots were fired after officers stopped a car carrying Ammon Bundy, the leader of the protests, and five others near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Activists said rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed, and one person wounded. Finicum, 55, had been one of the main spokesmen for the occupation, appearing at daily news conferences, posting regular dispatches on his YouTube page and organising some of the most high-profile actions protesting against the federal government’s regulation of public lands. Bundy and four other senior members were taken into custody following the confrontation along Highway 395 near the reserve in north-east Oregon at 4.25pm local time, the FBI said. Two others were arrested later, including Peter Santilli, a journalist who livestreamed events at the refuge.
Is the standoff over?
No. FBI agents have set up a perimeter around the wildlife refuge, where an unknown number of people are still holding out. One of the remaining occupiers, Jason Patrick, told Reuters by phone that they would stay until the “redress of grievances”. He said: “I’ve heard ‘peaceful resolution’ for weeks now and now there’s a cowboy who is my friend who is dead – so prepare for the peaceful resolution.”
How long has the occupation been going on, and why are they there?
The takeover at Malheur started on 2 January after a peaceful protest in nearby Burns, Oregon, over the conviction of two local ranchers on arson charges. Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. The two were convicted three years ago. But in October a federal judge ruled their terms were too short and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Among the demands by the group is for the Hammonds to be released. But the militia have more deep-seated grievances over land under federal government control.