Ranchers Steven and Dwight Hammond surrendered to California law enforcement Monday as the armed protesters in Oregon involved in a standoff over their arrests refuse to desist, the Oregonian reported. Protesters seized control of the headquarters building Saturday in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, in response to the pending arrests of the two men.
Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, had each received a five-year sentence for arson after a fire they started on their property in 2001 spread to federal land. The men are now in custody at Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in Los Angeles.
A spokeswoman w/ Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in Calif. says Dwight & Steven Hammond now in custody #ORmilitants
— Everton Bailey Jr. (@EvertonBailey) January 4, 2016
The armed protesters, who are still occupying the federal building, have said they will not budge until their demands are met -- although it was unclear what the group, called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, want from law enforcement.
"The people will need to be able to use the land and resources without fear as free men and women. We know it will take some time," leader Cliven Bundy told CNN.
Bundy has referenced the Mormon Church during the occupation, but leaders of the church have distanced themselves from the protesters.
"While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles," the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City said in a statement. "This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis. We are privileged to live in a nation where conflicts with government or private groups can — and should — be settled using peaceful means, according to the laws of the land."