Sunday, January 03, 2016

Armed protesters occupy Oregon wildlife refuge building over jailed ranchers

Armed protesters occupied a building of a federal wildlife refuge in the US state of Oregon in support of two return-to-jail ranchers punished by the court, according to the BBC on January 3. 

73-year-old Dwight Hammond and his son Steven Hammond, 46, were convicted of arson in 2012 with a five-year sentence in prison, but a court regarded that the sentences were too short, BBC said.

Prosecutors said the two ranchers set fire in 2001 to conceal poaching, while the father and son said they just wanted to cut the growth of invasive species, and protect land from wildfires, according to a CNN report.

Protesters consider the punishment to the Hammonds unfair and they broke into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.

Protesters gave no specific demands, but they aim to "use the land and resources without fear," CNN quoted Ammon Bundy, a spokesman for the protesters as saying.

Before occupying the building, protesters conducted a march on January 2.

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