Oregon Standoff Leader Ammon Bundy Calls for Refuge Holdouts to Leave

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Anti-Government Protesters Continue To Occupy National Wildlife Refuge After Leaders Arrested, And One Dead
The nation's most remote roadblocks remain.Photo: Matt Mills McKnight/2016 Getty Images

One of the jailed Oregon standoff leaders, Ammon Bundy, has called for the four remaining militants still occupying the Malheur wildlife refuge to go home, according to the Guardian. Bundy was arrested, along with his brother and other standoff organizers, last week, and he has now told the remaining holdouts at the refuge to “go home to your families” via a taped call released by his lawyers on Saturday. Bundy also insisted the month-long armed standoff “was never meant to be an armed standoff,” and asked the four men to “not make it about something it wasn’t supposed to be.” Joining him in the plea was Bundy’s wife, Lisa, who insisted that “the fight is done there. You educated. That was the goal.”

Bundy had previously suggested in a court appearance that the remaining men, David Fry of Ohio, Sean and Sandy Anderson of Idaho, and Jeff Banta of Nevada, had a different agenda than the core members of the group had sought. Fry posted a video on Friday in which he continued to complain that the FBI is still refusing to promise that the men will not be prosecuted if they leave the refuge. “I don’t believe that [the U.S. government has] any authority over me because they’re illegal and I can’t bow down to that,” added one of the holdouts in the video. The other occupiers left the refuge following the arrests of the group’s leaders.

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Or, you know, rural Oregon.Photo: Matt Mills McKnight/2016 Getty Images

Bundy and the other standoff organizer were denied bail following their arrest, during which one of the group’s spokesmen, Robert Lavoy Finnicum, was killed after trying to outrun authorities, then reaching for a gun after driving into a snow bank while trying to avoid a roadblock. His death has led to new calls by anti-government activists to converge on Burns, Oregon and protest, and some still believe he was killed without cause, even after a video of the confrontation was made public showing Finnicum almost run over an officer, then get out of his vehicle and reach toward his pocket, which the FBI says contained a loaded handgun. Meanwhile the Associated Press reports that many Burns residents are fed up with the ordeal, just wanting life to return to normal as the standoff and attention is now pitting neighbor against neighbor. Authorities continue to maintain road blocks near the refuge preventing all access, and Reuters reports that negotiations with the holdouts are ongoing.