PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of seven people involved in a weekslong armed standoff at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):
A handful of people showed up outside a federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon, as a lengthy trial got underway for seven people who were involved in a weekslong standoff earlier this year at a national wildlife refuge near Burns.
Opening statements were beginning Tuesday for the defendants, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, part of a Nevada ranching family embroiled in a long-running dispute over land use.
Those outside court waved an upside-down American flag and were joined by a horse named Lady Liberty.
They plan to march around the courthouse during the trial’s lunch breaks.
John Lamb drove from Bozeman, Montana, to take part in the protest.
He says the federal government has no more authority to manage ranching lands than he does to run the New York City subway.
The armed protesters who occupied a remote bird sanctuary in Oregon’s high desert earlier this year did so to protest federal land policy, which has been a point of contention in Western states for decades.
On Tuesday opening statements are set to begin in the federal trial of seven protesters, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, part of a Nevada ranching family embroiled in a long-running dispute over land use.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge through intimidation or threats. Five of them are also charged with possession of a firearm in a federal facility.
The takeover started Jan. 2 as a protest against the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires and quickly grew into demands for the U.S. government to turn public lands over to local control.