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article imageLast protesters surrender at Oregon wildlife refuge

By Nathan Salant     Feb 11, 2016 in Environment
Burns - The last four protesters occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon surrendered without a shot Thursday, ending a 41-day occupation that attracted national attention but did not spark outrage over federal land policies that militants hoped for.
After a dramatic pause caused by one holdout's second thoughts, the four militants left Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters and were taken into custody by federal agents who had surrounded the compound.
The surrender was heard by tens of thousands on YouTube who tuned into a live-streamed telephone call between militants and U.S. authorities at the scene in Harney County, according to [url=http:// t=_blank]Cable News Network (CNN).
Last holdout David Fry said his grievances had not been addressed but relented after several hours after supporters urged him to surrender on the phone call.
"I am walking to them right now," Fry said as other people on the call responded "Hallelujah, keep walking," CNN said.
Harney County Sheriff David Ward said Fry had agreed moments earlier that he would surrender if everyone exclaimed "Hallelujah," and people on the call and surrounding the compound did, even members of law enforcement SWAT teams.
Listeners could hear federal agents arresting Fry, telling him "nice and easy, hands behind your back," the news service said.
The end of the occupation came hours after militants indicated in earlier conversations that were preparing to turn themselves in.
The four occupiers arrested Thursday were Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio; Jeff Wayne Banta, 46, of Yerington, Nev.; and Sean Larry Anderson, 47, and Sandra Lynn Anderson, 48, both of Riggins, Idaho.
They are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in federal court in Portland.
Authorities identified the last four occupiers arrested Thursday: Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio; Jeff Wayne Banta, 46, of Yerington, Nevada; and Sean Larry Anderson, 47, and Sandra Lynn Anderson, 48, both of Riggins, Idaho, the FBI said.
They are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in federal court in Portland.
No one was injured, and no shots were fired in the last arrests, the FBI said.
But over the course of the 41-day occupation, there were "dozens of highly armed militants occupying, visiting and supplying the refuge," the FBI said.
The militants who seized the refuge were objecting to the federal government's ownership and management of large portions of Oregon.
U.S. agencies own nearly 53 percent of Oregon land, according to the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C.
On Feb. 3, a federal grand jury indicted 16 people, including the four who surrendered, the FBI said.
The other 12 people indicted are Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah; Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Shawna Cox, 59, Kanab, Utah; Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Oregon; Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent, Oregon; Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona; Jason S. Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia; Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana; Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, Peoria, Arizona; and Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the FBI.
Also indicted are Ammon Edward Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, and his brother Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev.
They are all charged with felony conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, the FBI said.
But while the occupation itself is over, impacts from the standoff still reverberate in Oregon and in Harney County, CNN said.
Local authorities told CNN that militia groups are still arriving in Harney County, as they have throughout the standoff.
"The occupation and continued presence of militia groups in Harney County continues to cause division in the county and every community within," Harney County Judge Steven Grasty said Thursday at a news conference.
"Calls for thousands of people to descend on Burns are very troubling," he said.
Federal authorities also appealed for normalcy, but acknowledged there would be a lot of work to do.
"The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge has been a long and traumatic episode for the citizens of Harney County and the members of the Burns Paiute tribe," U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a written statement.
"It is a time for healing, reconciliation amongst neighbors and friends, and allowing for life to get back to normal," he said.
The day before the standoff ended, on Wednesday, U.S. authorities arrested Cliven Bundy, the father of occupation leader Ammon Bundy, on charges stemming from a 2014 dispute over grazing rights on federal land.
Ammon Bundy was arrested last month at the height of the Burns standoff.
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