The armed group Citizens for Constitutional Freedom has occupied buildings at a U.S. national wildlife refuge in Oregon since Saturday, and members say they’re not leaving until the federal government stops violating what the group considers the individual freedom of ranchers and transfers the management of public land to area residents.
Federal authorities, who are coordinating their response in the nearby town of Burns, have so far kept their distance from the compound. They are calling on the militiamen to peacefully end the occupation but are being careful not to antagonize them further.
Both sides say they do not want bloodshed, but the militiamen have stated that they are prepared to return fire if police raid the compound.
Dena Takruri of AJ+ attended a town hall meeting on Wednesday evening in Burns, where she heard from community members who are divided over the group’s presence.