FBI surrounds occupiers at wildlife refuge in Oregon

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MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Ore. — The armed protesters occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon have been surrounded, the FBI said on Wednesday.

According to the FBI, one of the remaining occupiers rode outside barricades at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. When agents tried to approach him, he sped off back to the refuge.

After that the agency said agents “moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind the area where the occupiers are camping.”

The FBI said no shots were fired and it is continuing to negotiate with those inside the refuge.

Four people are believed to be still occupying the refuge.

“The FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”

Wednesday marks day 40 of the occupation.

Ammon Bundy and others started out demonstrating against the sentencing of Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, ranchers who were convicted of arson on federal lands in Oregon.

But a January 2 march supporting the Hammonds led to the armed occupation of the refuge, with protesters decrying what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.

Bundy and other members of his group were arrested during an incident along a highway last month.

At the same time, law enforcement officers shot and killed LaVoy Finicum, one of the protest group’s most prominent members.