UPDATE: 10 p.m. EST -- The FBI has confirmed that it has moved in on the Oregon wildlife refuge after one of the occupiers rode an all-terrain vehicle outside the barricades established by the militia at the refuge, a news release said. Negotiations between the FBI and occupiers continue, and no shots have been fired.
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, according to the news release.
The FBI reportedly encircled the four remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Princeton, Oregon, on Wednesday night, the Oregonian reported on its website. Armored FBI vehicles were reportedly parked outside the camp, with agents demanding that the protesters surrender.
A friend of one of the occupiers, David Fry, was streaming online through an open phone line with the occupiers as authorities approached them. The stream featured a verbal confrontation between the occupiers and law enforcement officials.
“Come out with your hands up," a law enforcement official could be heard saying, the Oregonian reported.
The FBI has encircled the four remaining occupiers at the Oregon wildlife refuge. Agents in armored vehicles are demanding they surrender.
— Les Zaitz (@LesZaitz) February 11, 2016
The FBI had negotiated with the remaining four armed occupants Saturday in an effort to ease tensions after the group’s spokesman, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was killed during a standoff between federal agents and protesters in late January. The four remaining occupiers were identified as David Fry, Jeff Banta and Sean and Sandy Anderson.
Occupation leaders took over the headquarters compound of the wildlife refuge Jan. 2. The occupiers have demanded that the government let go of the area for public use, like grazing and logging. FBI and state police arrested the occupation's leader Ammon Bundy, along with other key players, Jan. 26 on a federal conspiracy charge. Since Bundy's arrest, the militant leader had issued written and taped statements urging the remaining four occupiers to leave the refuge.