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Makeshift memorial springs up on Oregon highway for rancher


    A convoy of armored vehicles and SUVs rolls past a barricade on the road near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. The remnants of an armed group occupying the refuge to protest federal land policies say they won’t leave until they get assurances they won’t be arrested.


    A makeshift roadside memorial for rancher LaVoy Finicum stands on a highway north of Burns, Oregon today. Finicum was killed Tuesday night in a confrontation with the FBI and Oregon State Police on a remote road. Four people occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge held their position today. They have demanded that they be allowed to leave without being arrested.

BURNS, Ore. » About a dozen people paid their respects this afternoon at a makeshift memorial that has sprung up where rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by police last week on U.S. Highway 395 north of Burns.

The mourners wiped tears, prayed, and laid a copy of the U.S. Constitution on a large wooden cross that has been planted at the site.

The site is also surrounded by American flags and signs, including one that says “RIP LaVoy Finicum. A True American hero.”

Meanwhile, the four people occupying a national wildlife refuge held their position Sunday. They have demanded that they be allowed to leave without being arrested. The jailed group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, and 10 others who were arrested last week remained in custody.

Through his lawyer, Bundy on Saturday again called on the remaining occupiers to leave. The FBI has said it’s trying to resolve the situation peacefully.

The mourners at the makeshift memorial Sunday included Brandon Curtis, a founder of the Pacific Patriots Network, which is demanding the removal of law enforcement officers from Burns.

“We’ve had enough,” Curtis said. “This stops now.”

The network said it had additional rallies planned for Monday in Burns and called for like-minded people to gather in the small eastern Oregon town.

“This is a call to action against an armed militarized police force,” said B.J. Soper, a network leader.

“We want to protest this armed insurgency taking place by our federal government,” Soper said of the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.

Activists are urging people who oppose a “militarized police presence” to converge on the small high desert town near the wildlife refuge that has been occupied by an armed group for a month.

The network also organized a rolling rally through Burns on Saturday night, and said it planned more demonstrations to protest the killing of Finicum, and the presence of numerous heavily armed law enforcement officers at the standoff.

The rally drew more than 100 people and dozens of U.S. and Confederate flag-covered vehicles.

A lone woman showed up to oppose the rally. Jen Hoke of Burns carried a sign saying “Militia Go Home.’” “These people are spreading a message of hate,” Hoke said.

While the standoff that originated over federal land-use policies has led to filled-up hotels and restaurants as police, protesters and media have flocked to the area, locals say the conflict is upsetting and pitting neighbor against neighbor.

Authorities say Bundy, the leader of the group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and others used the social media and other platforms to summon recruits to join their takeover.

Court documents against the 11 occupiers under arrest show FBI agents have scrutinized social media postings, interviews and online talk shows that have been made during the standoff that began Jan. 2.

Bundy and several other jailed leaders appeared Friday in federal court in Portland, where a judge denied their release. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne pose a danger to the community, and she is concerned they would not follow orders to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.

The only woman arrested so far in the standoff, Shawna Cox, will be allowed to go home while her case makes its way through the court system. But Beckerman said that won’t happen until after the armed occupation ends.

Court documents detail some of the evidence against the occupiers. The charges against the defendants say the refuge’s 16 employees have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence.

A criminal complaint filed earlier this week makes reference to an online video that showed Bundy saying the group planned to stay for several years. He called on people to “come out here and stand,” adding: “We need you to bring your arms.”

Finicum, the group’s spokesman, was killed Tuesday night in a confrontation with the FBI and Oregon State Police. Bundy and four others were arrested during the encounter.

The FBI on Thursday released a video showing Finicum’s death, to counter claims he did nothing to provoke his killing. In the aerial video, Finicum is pulled over in his truck but then takes off in the vehicle and plows into a snowbank because of a roadblock. He gets out and has his hands up at first, then appears to reach toward his jacket pocket at least twice. He is shot and falls to the snow.

The FBI said a loaded handgun was found in the pocket.


Ridler reported from Boise, Idaho.

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  • Ammon Bundy claims through his lawyer he’s “not aligned” with the group — and yet it was he (not Finicum) who set himself up as their de facto spokesman because of the notoriety of the Bundy name. This was a local issue until he drove up there and inserted himself in the middle of it. Too late to try and bow out now.

  • Look at the picture and check those armed vehicles. Now this is the FBI in charge using the vehicles that our Commander in Chief has asked the police forces to turn in since they aggravate “others”—-and entice them to riot whomever HE was referring to ????
    I lived close to that area and they are law abiding people–independent, everybody has a weapon, hunters, people who work the ground, timbering, salmon fishing–but most of all they want to be left alone without being overly governed. This is not Ferguson–where were the FBI armed vehicles then against the Undocumented shoppers???

  • I don’t understand why the debacle is permitted to continue. Simply turn off all electricity and water, and refuse any further deliveries of mail, food, or other items. Soon, all of their phones will not be able to recharge, they’ll be hungry and thirsty, and they’ll stop their ridiculous, unlawful protest. Then, it’s just a matter of having them line up and climb into a waiting police transport to be in-processed.

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