The last four occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon have surrendered, the FBI confirms.
The militia took over the refuge on January 2, protesting against government “interference” in the lives of ranchers in the western US.
The development comes hours after the FBI surrounded the group at the site.
In late January, one protester was shot dead when the FBI and police arrested the leaders of the occupation.
Just before 10:00 local time on February 11, three of the remaining four militia, Sandy Anderson, 47 of Riggins, Idaho; her husband Sean Anderson, 48 and Jeff Banta, 46 from Yerington, Nevada surrendered and walked into the custody of the FBI.
David Fry, 27, who remained holed-up, said he was feeling “suicidal”.
“Liberty or death,” he said.
David Fry added: “I declare war against the federal government because they have been trampling on my first amendment rights.”
On a live broadcast streamed on the internet, David Fry described how the others had walked out with hands in the air, holding an American flag.
An hour later, to cries of “hallelujah”, David Fry could be heard saying: “I’m walking towards them right now,” as he too surrendered to the FBI.
The four had spent their last night at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, camping in the grounds around 30 miles south of the city of Burns on the snowy desert plains of Harney County in north-eastern Oregon.
The attempt to resolve the stand-off was brokered by a Republican member of Nevada’s state assembly, Michele Fiore, who travelled to the bird reserve to witness the surrender along with a preacher, Franklin Graham.
In the final moments of the siege, activists KrisAnne Hall and Gavin Seim pleaded with David Fry to give himself up.
David Fry’s arrest brings the 41-day occupation of the federal complex to an end.
The FBI said in a statement that “no one was injured, and no shots were fired” during the arrests on February 11.
The last four occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon are preparing to surrender, a member of the group says.
Sean Anderson said they would leave the complex on Thursday morning, February 11, in a live broadcast on the internet.
Earlier, the FBI moved in on the group, which had been entrenched for 40 days.
The occupiers are protesting against federal government control of local land. One activist died in an earlier confrontation with police.
Agents were placed behind barricades near the self-styled militia’s encampment, an FBI statement said.
All four of the militia – a husband and wife and two other men – were said to be present during a discussion, broadcast live online, about how they would put down their weapons and walk out of the refuge at 08:00 local time.
They will meet a Nevada lawmaker, Michele Fiore, and a preacher who are travelling to meet them.
Michele Fiore, a Republican member of the Nevada state assembly, was also on the live conference call.
She said that the FBI had “given us their word that they are going to stand down tonight” on the understanding that the four would leave the complex in the morning.
As well as Sean Anderson, 48, the other occupiers have been named as Sandy Anderson, 47; David Fry, 27; Jeff Banta, 46.
The four had refused to leave despite the arrest of the group’s leader Ammon Bundy last month. He has urged those remaining to stand down.
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was seized early in January. The armed takeover was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers accused of burning federal land.
It developed into a wider protest demanding the return of government-controlled land to locals.
Ammon Bundy and others were arrested late in January in a confrontation with police that left one of the activists, LaVoy Finicum, dead.
The FBI said its agents moved in on the four on February 10 after one of them drove a vehicle outside barricades erected by the group.
“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 Count,” the statement said.
Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed militia which has occupied a wildlife refuge in Oregon, has been arrested, police say.
One person has been killed in the shootout.
Ammon Bundy and four others were arrested during a traffic stop. One person was injured. Three others were held in separate incidents.
The militia occupied the refuge on January 2 to support two ranchers jailed for setting fire to federal land.
They say the government has taken land illegally from ranchers for decades.
Other members of the group were reportedly still at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, where the FBI was setting up a perimeter.
FBI officials said in a statement that Ammon Bundy, 40, was arrested in a traffic stop on Highway 395 along with his brother Ryan Bundy, 43, Bryan Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Walen Payne, 32.
Two other activists connected to the group, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, and Peter Santilli, 50, were later arrested, separately, in Burns, Oregon.
According to the FBI, each of the defendants faces a charge of conspiracy to impede police from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.
According to TheOregonian newspaper, Ammon Bundy was en route to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, where he was scheduled to be a guest speaker, when authorities stopped his vehicle.
According to the newspaper, Ryan Bundy was injured in the arrest, suffering a minor gunshot wound. Authorities did not release the identity of the person killed.
However, local media named the man as Arizona native Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a regular spokesman for the group.
His daughter, Arianna Finicum Brown, told The Oregonian he was a “good, good man, through and through”.
Some 25 miles of Highway 395 was shut in both directions following the incident, local officials said.
Another occupier of the refuge, Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, surrendered to police in Arizona on January 26.
In October 2015, a federal judge ruled the sentences on two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, for burning federal land were too short and jailed them for about four years each.
Angered by the ruling, Nevada native Ammon Bundy began a social media campaign backing them and travelled to Burns, Oregon, organizing meetings.
Ammon Bundy’s group attracted supporters from across a number of states and he called it Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. On January 2, the armed militiamen took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – and widened the range of demands.
It is an extension of the Sagebrush Revolution of the 1970s and 1980s that demanded the transfer of federal land in many western states to local control.
Ammon Bundy’s own father – a Nevada rancher – had been involved in a protest over cattle-grazing rights in 2014. One policy is to try to persuade ranchers to tear up their federal grazing contracts.
Although many local residents are sympathetic with its cause, many also oppose the occupation of the refuge. Even the local ranchers who are serving the longer sentences distanced themselves from the militia.
The militia term has a complex history and generally refers to those outside the official military who can be called on in times of need. The US Constitution refers to the president having command of “militia of several states” and that Congress “can call forth militia” to tackle insurrection and invasion.
Those who form such militias cite the constitution and various references in federal and state law as granting them legality.
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