The FBI appears to be making a final push Wednesday to end the 40-day old occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. It’s not clear what exactly prompted the federal authorities to make a move on the four remaining occupiers, but the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, Greg Bretzing, released this statement on Wednesday:
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully… 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.”
The occupiers are currently live streaming their internal discussions on how to respond here (just as fair warning, some of the language is explict and the situation generally tense):
“FBI tactical teams had quietly moved into the refuge compound Tuesday night, entering the buildings undetected by the occupiers,” according to the Oregonian. “They apparently were in the buildings through the day Wednesday before agents moved against the encampment.” David Fry, 27, of Ohio, Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada, and Sean and Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho have remained at the refuge even after Ammon Bundy and others were arrested last month. The four face federal conspiracy charges for the participation in what they call a protest over government overreach on federal land.
Update, 11:15 p.m.: Slate’s Jacob Brogan is following along to the occupiers’ live stream here. Here’s a sampling: