UPDATE: 9:45 p.m. EST — Susan Hammond told Oregon Public Broadcasting her husband, Dwight, for whom the intruders claim to be acting, is already en route to Los Angeles to begin serving his sentence. The Hammonds are due to report to prison Monday morning.
When asked about the Malheur refuge occupation, Susan Hammond laughed and said she was very surprised by it.
“I don’t even know what ‘occupying the refuge’ means. I can’t judge what’s going on out there because I don’t know what it is,” she said. “I hope they’ve got some warm clothes.”
Oregon state police told OPB a joint command center of federal, state and local law enforcement offices will be established near the site Monday. The Harney County Sheriff’s Office said law enforcement was working to make sure citizens are safe and “this issue is resolved as quickly and peaceful as possible.”
“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States,” wrote Sheriff David Ward.
“The battle was brought to us,” Dan Nichols, a county commissioner who is a neighbor of the Hammond family, told the New York Times. “This county isn’t supportive of what’s being done here at all. Once again, it’s a bunch of those who live without the county telling us what we need to do, how we need to be doing it and the repercussions if we don’t.”
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908.
UPDATE: 5:09 p.m. EST — The leader of the armed group of protesters occupying a wildlife refuge center in Oregon Saturday has said they will remain there until the government acquiesces to their demands. “The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” said Ammon Bundy, leader of the demonstration in support of the Hammond family who are set to report to jail Monday for burning government land, the New York Times reported Sunday. Bundy said the group could remain in the wildlife center for months or even years.
UPDATE: 3:40 p.m. EST — Ammon Bundy, the Nevada rancher leading an armed occupation of a wildlife refuge center in Oregon said his group would not become violent unless the government attempted to intervene, the Oregonian reported. Bundy and his group are protesting alleged government interference in the business of cattle ranchers. Law enforcement officials had not yet breached the compound. "A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution," Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said in a statement late Saturday.
After Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy and allegedly armed supporters of his Ranchers' Rights movement occupied a federal wildlife refuge building in Oregon, social media users Sunday took to Twitter to express their outrage over the designation of the group as a militia instead of terrorists. People posting with #OregonUnderAttack highlighted the differences between the way this protest was depicted and how controversies involving black or Muslim people are discussed.
The protesters who took over the building said they were doing so in solidarity with Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, two Harney County ranchers set to report to prison Monday for burning federal land. While the Hammonds maintain the fire they set within their own land to contain pests accidentally spread, the prosecution alleged the father-son ranchers burned the land to hide evidence of poaching. Bundy has long been an advocate for ranchers' rights, following a dispute with the U.S. government over cattle grazing on federal land.
Headlines in Oregon and throughout the country referred to the group occupying the wildlife refuge as a militia, after footage showed several of the protesters carrying firearms. Many users on Twitter were angry the group was not referred to as terrorists, saying the only difference was that Bundy and his supporters are white. At the time of publication, more than 310,000 tweets had been posted with #OregonUnderAttack.
"I'd love to see the media (and your) reaction if a gang of armed Muslims occupied a govt building #OregonUnderAttack," tweeted Peter Daou, a former political adviser to Democratic candidates.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) January 3, 2016
Another Twitter user, Nicola Mitchell described "white terrorists with guns" as "the biggest threat to America."
Once again the biggest threat to Americans is white terrorists with guns & once again the media plays it down #Oregonunderattack
— Nicola Mitchell (@mitchellnicola) January 3, 2016
Other social media users compared the difference in dialogue with protests in Chicago or Ferguson, Missouri, where peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were stopped by police. "I am not defending #OregonUnderAttack and hopefully things calm soon, but I will call out liberals 4 [sic] their silence on Ferguson, Baltimore," tweeted Wayne Dupree, a prominent black blogger and radio show host.
I am not defending #OregonUnderAttack and hopefully things calm soon but i will call out liberals 4 their silence on Ferguson, Baltimore_
— Wayne Dupree™ (@WayneDupreeShow) January 3, 2016