Oregon Refuge Occupiers Send Armed Group Away; Community Wants Them All Gone
By MIKE GUDGELL,JOHN CAPELL
They rolled up in a long convoy of pickup trucks and utility vehicles -- members of Idaho’s 3 percent group and the Pacific Patriot Network. Heavily armed, assault rifles at the ready, they waded into the dwindling number of media and others at the entrance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters today and took over a press conference arranged by the group occupying the reserve, led by Ammon Bundy.
It's the latest in a series of conflicts or missteps between groups pressing different causes that have been drawn to the refuge. Earlier this week there was a fistfight between rival groups seeking attention or a way to press their own case for change.
"We are here to create a safety buffer," 3 percent leader Brandon Curtiss told the media, but not long after that, Curtiss and his followers came back from inside the reserve and left, after being told they were not needed.
"The Bundys have tried to put the word out -- we don't need you, it is the last thing we need or want to here," attorney Todd McFarlane, who is close to the Bundy team, told ABC News.
At a community meeting here this past week, almost all those attending supported the Harney County Sheriff David Ward’s efforts to end the occupation. They wanted Bundy's group gone.
Bundy has said he and his group will leave when the residents are organized and able to get a "redress of their grievances," but even the community activist group he helped start, the Harney County Committee on Safety, has sent a letter to Bundy thanking him but telling him and all those at the refuge that it's time to go.