Cliven Bundy arrested in Portland as Oregon occupiers say they will surrender Thursday
He was reportedly on his way to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in isolated southeastern Oregon, where an armed occupation in its 41st day seemed to be coming to an end. The occupation had been organized by Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan, who are now in jail facing a felony charge of conspiracy to impede a federal officer.
The last remaining members of the occupation had said they will turn themselves over on Thursday morning, after the FBI appeared to close in on their encampment.
The FBI in Portland would not confirm the circumstances of elder Bundy’s arrest. But the Oregonian reported that he was apprehended at Portland International Airport after disembarking from his flight from Las Vegas late Wednesday night. The newspaper said that Bundy, 74, faces the same charge as his son in relation to his standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 2014. He also faces weapons charges, it said.
Bundy’s arrest came after federal authorities moved to surround the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Wednesday afternoon, prompting the lingering occupiers to have a panicked phone conversation with a few of their supporters, including Nevada state assemblywoman, Michele Fiore, that was broadcast over a livestream on YouTube
Initially the occupiers said they feared an armed assault by agents was imminent. But late Wednesday night local time, after a phone conversation that lasted more than four hours, one of occupiers said they planned to emerge from the refuge in the morning so long as Fiore was there to act as a witness and ensure that the occupation ended peacefully.
Mike Arnold, an attorney for Ammon Bundy who took part in Fiore’s phone negotiations and was en route to the wildlife refuge with her early Thursday, told The Washington Post that he was “extremely disappointed” by the news of Cliven Bundy’s arrest.
“It was a horrible strategic move to arrest Cliven while negotiations were literally happening over the phone,” he said. “That is not a symbol of good faith.”
But he believed that the agreement reached Wednesday night would still hold.
The government is still in control contrary to what some think. It will not tolerate insurrection. If these people want change they need to learn to work within the system