Supporters of Convicted Ranchers Occupy Fed. Wildlife Refuge HQ in Oregon | NBC New York
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Supporters of Convicted Ranchers Occupy Fed. Wildlife Refuge HQ in Oregon

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    Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land.

     

    A group of reportedly armed protesters occupied a federal building at an Oregon wildlife refuge late Saturday and vowed to stay there indefinitely to highlight rancher rights.

     

    The standoff came after so-called "militia members" converged on the small town of Burns to show support for a pair of ranchers jailed on an arson conviction, according to NBC affiliate KTVZ.

    A small group that included Ammon Bundy – son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher known for his 2014 standoff with the federal government – then took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters about 60 miles away.

    "We're prepared to be out here for as long as needs be," Bundy said in a video posted on Facebook. "Once they can use these lands as free men then we will have accomplished what we came to accomplish."

    A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representative said the bureau had received reports of a break-in at the refuge, but that no staff were inside the building at the time.