Dueling Demonstrations As Occupation Continues At Oregon Refuge


The dividing line over a monthlong armed standoff in rural Oregon deepened yesterday as hundreds of people converged on a county courthouse lawn to send a message to the remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and their supporters: Go home, The Oregonian reports. Backers of the anti-government standoff also turned out by the hundreds and made clear they would not back down. The dueling demonstrations diverted attention from the takeover of the refuge headquarters, now in its 31st day. Four holdouts remain entrenched there, refusing to leave without immunity in hand.

Not all the 500 people who gathered at the courthouse were from Harney County. A self-styled patriot group from Idaho organized the protest backing the occupation. Locals stood on both sides of the sidewalk that divided the protests. Chants of “Stand down, leave our town!” from one group were met with “We are home!” from the other. The protests lasted about four hours at full throttle, dwindling only in the fifth hour to a handful of people. Standoff supporters focused on the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, an occupation spokesman who was shot and killed last week during a confrontation with state police and the FBI.

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