FBI tightens grip on final occupiers at Oregon wildlife refuge

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(REUTERS) -- Federal agents on Wednesday closed in on the last four anti-government militants still holed up at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon after a 40-day armed occupation protesting federal land control in the West.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said that no shots had been fired and that negotiations were continuing to end the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote eastern Oregon without violence.

The FBI said the latest confrontation began after one of the protesters was seen riding an all-terrain vehicle outside the encampment.

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A number of the occupiers were relating their account of events as they unfolded via an independent Internet broadcast, "Revolution Radio," that is known to be sympathetic to the occupation.

The militants said FBI agents had moved to within 50 yards (45 meters) of the occupiers' position in the compound, and one reported seeing FBI snipers on a nearby hillside with high-beam vehicle lights trained on the compound.

"If they tear gas us, it's the same as firing on us," said one of the occupiers, who identified herself as Sandy Anderson. "Don't come in. Don't do it."

She later reported that federal agents were trying to coax the protesters out of hiding, but added, "We're not leaving without our weapons."

Nevada state Assembly member Michele Fiore, a Republican supportive of the protesters, identified herself over the broadcast as she talked with the occupiers via telephone. She said she was in Portland waiting for an FBI escort to Malheur, roughly 300 miles (480 km) to the southeast, in order to help broker a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

Images from the standoff:

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Ranching dispute in Oregon; protesters take over National Wildlife Refuge
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FBI tightens grip on final occupiers at Oregon wildlife refuge
KANAB, UT - FEBRUARY 5: A man holds a flag as two armed private security guards look on outside a Mormon church for the funeral of rancher Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum on February 5, 2016 in Kanab, Utah. Finicum who was part of the Burns, Oregon standoff with federal officials was shot and killed by FBI agents when they tried to detain him at a traffic stop on February 27, 2016. ( Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
This photo taken from an FBI video shows Robert "LaVoy" Finicum after he was fatally shot by police Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 near Burns, Ore. A video released Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 by the FBI of the shooting death of a spokesman for the armed occupiers of a wildlife refuge shows the man reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow. The FBI said the man had a gun in his pocket. (FBI via AP)
This photo taken from an FBI video shows Robert "LaVoy" Finicum before he was fatally shot by police Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 near Burns, Ore. A video released Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 by the FBI of the shooting death of a spokesman for the armed occupiers of a wildlife refuge shows the man reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow. The FBI said the man had a gun in his pocket. (FBI via AP)
This photo taken from an FBI video shows Robert "LaVoy" Finicum before he was fatally shot by police Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 near Burns, Ore. A video released Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 by the FBI of the shooting death of a spokesman for the armed occupiers of a wildlife refuge shows the man reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow. The FBI said the man had a gun in his pocket. (FBI via AP)
This combination of photos provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows eight people involved in the occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Jan. 2, 2016, who were arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Top row from left are Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier and Shawna Cox. Bottom row from left are Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, Jon Eric Ritzheimer and Peter Santilli. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Sgt. Tom Hutchison stands in front of an Oregon State Police roadblock on Highway 395 on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 between John Day and Burns, Ore. The FBI on Tuesday arrested the leaders of an armed group that has occupied a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon for the past three weeks. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP) 
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities. One person died in an armed clash with police as they arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to an American wildlife refuge, the FBI said January 26. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
A Oregon State police officer stands by a vehicle as police officers block Highway 395 in Seneca, Ore., Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Authorities said shots were fired Tuesday during the arrest of members of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP) 
Highway 395 is blocked at Seneca between John Day and Burns, Ore., by Oregon State police officers the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. A more than 50-mile stretch of highway in Oregon has been closed near where an armed group has been occupying a national wildlife refuge. A group led by Ammon Bundy seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns on Jan. 2 as part of a long-running dispute over public lands in the West. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016 file photo, LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, speaks to the media after members of an armed group along with several other organizations arrive at the at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. The FBI and Oregon State Police arrested the leaders of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge for the past three weeks during a traffic stop that prompted gunfire â and one death â along a highway through the frozen high country. The Oregonian reported that Finicum was the person killed, citing the man's daughter. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
FILE - In a Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, Ammon Bundy speaks during an interview at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Ore. Authorities said Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, that Bundy, leader of the armed Oregon group, has been arrested. Authorities say shots were fired during the arrest of members of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks. The FBI said authorities arrested Ammon Bundy, 40, his brother Ryan Bundy, 43, Brian Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Payne, 32, during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 395 Tuesday afternoon. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
ADDS IDENTIFICATION OF ADRIAN SEWELL- Ryan Bundy, right, gestures toward Adrian Sewell at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in near Burns, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Bundy, part of an armed group occupying the refuge to protest federal land policies, says the sign will be displayed on a road leading to the area. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
Ammon Bundy sits at a desk he's using at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Bundy is the leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge to protest federal land policies. The leader of an armed group occupying the refuge met briefly with a federal agent Friday, but left because the agent wouldn't talk with him in front of the media. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
Demonstrators gather near a national wildlife refuge to protest against a group occupying the land Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, near in Burns, Ore. The leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon plans to have a ceremony Saturday for ranchers to renounce federal ownership of public land and tear up their federal grazing contracts. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
Ammon Bundy, left, approaches an FBI gate at the Burns Municipal Airport in Oregon on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Bundy is the leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge to protest federal land policies. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler).
Ammon Bundy, left, speaks with FBI agents Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 at the Burns, Oregon, airport. Bundy is the leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge to protest federal land policies. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler).
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, file photo, members of the Burns Paiute tribe watch a news conference held by their leaders in response to the armed occupation of the nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Ore. A leader of the Oregon Indian tribe whose ancestral property is being occupied by an armed group opposed to federal land policy said Wednesday that the group is not welcome and needs to leave. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes, File)
Portland, Ore., residents protest the occupation of a national refuge, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 in southeastern Oregon. The protesters chanted "Birds not Bullies" and said the government should arrest occupiers. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)
Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon, Ore., a supporter of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, walks his horse Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands, but critics say the lands are already managed to help everyone from ranchers to recreationalists. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ryan Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, walks to a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, near Burns, Ore. A small, armed group occupying the wildlife preserve has said repeatedly that local people should control federal lands, but critics say the lands are already managed to help everyone from ranchers to recreationalists. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon Ore., a supporter of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, rides his horse Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The leader of an American Indian tribe that regards the Oregon nature preserve as sacred issued a rebuke Wednesday to the armed men who are occupying the property, saying they are not welcome at the snowy bird sanctuary and must leave. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A member of an anti-government militia stands next to a campfire outside of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A man wearing a patriotic jacket rides his horse on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ammon Bundy, center, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, walks off after speaking with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Members of an armed anti-government militia, monitor the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Members of an anti-government militia stand outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, who is part of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge speaks with reporters during a news conference at the the refuge Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. Finicum said the group would examine the underlying land ownership transactions to begin to "unwind it," stating he was eager to leave Oregon. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ammon Bundy(2nd-L), leader of an armed anti-government militia, returns to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016 following a news conference. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A view of the visitor center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A member of an anti-government militia stands outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, drives near the front entrance Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, walks to the front gate Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, stands guard Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum, holds as he guards the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Ammon Bundy, the leader of a small, armed group that is occupying a remote national wildlife preserve in Oregon said Tuesday that they will go home when a plan is in place to turn over management of federal lands to locals. (AP photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ammon Bundy, center, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights, told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, receives a hug from a member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A members of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, walks to one of it's buldings Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights, told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
LaVoy Finicum, right, a rancher from Arizona, shakes hands with a member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
People gather as Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, as he speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights, told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A members of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, stands guard Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Harney County Sheriff David Ward speaks to the media on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Burns, Ore. Ward said the father and son ranchers convicted of setting fire to federal grazing land have reported to prison. A group calling itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials as they occupied a federal wildlife reserve. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A members of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, wears a camouflage jacket with a patch on his shoulder Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Members of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters look on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. An armed anti-government group took over thenational wildlife refuge as part of a decades-long fight over public lands in the West. The latest dispute traces its roots to the 1970s and the "Sagebrush Rebellion," a move by Western states like Nevada to increase local control over federal land.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ammon Bundy, center, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights, told reporters on Monday that two local ranchers who face long prison sentences for setting fire to land have been treated unfairly. The armed anti-government group took over the remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon as part of a decades-long fight over public lands in the West. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

Ammon Bundy, the leader of armed protesters who have taken over a federal building in rural Oregon, told TODAY Monday that the group has no intention of committing violence unless the government intervenes.

Photo courtesy: NBC News

Members of a small militia at the entrance to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Deserted N. Broadway Avenue in Burns, Oregon is seen January 3, 2016, where 30 miles away a militia group has occupied the Malheur Wildlife Headquarters complex. Anti-government militiamen from several US states continued to occupy the federal wildlife facility in Oregon, saying their protest against the jailing of two ranchers could last years, media reported. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Ryan Payne, an Army veteran from Montana, participates in a community meeting in Burns, Ore., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. He was among key militiamen who seized control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after a peaceful protest parade in Burns on Saturday. (Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via AP)
A vehicle occupied by members of a small militia group enter the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Media gather outside the entrance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, where an armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Patric Batie, 14, walks along a road in Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, some 30 miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters where a group of armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some school to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters march on Court Avenue in support of an Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson in Burns, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Family members were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. (Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via AP)

A sign of the National Wildlife Refuge System is seen at an entry of the wildlife refuge, where some vehicles are seen used to block access to the inside of the refuge, about 30 miles southeast of Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Armed protesters are occupying a building at the national wildlife refuge and asking militia members around the country to join them. The protesters went to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday following a peaceful rally in support of two Oregon ranchers facing additional prison time for arson. (Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via AP) 

Buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are seen near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters are occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)
A sign tacked outside a Burns. Ore., home reflects growing community sentiment that outsider militia aren't welcome, in mid-December 2015. Self-styled patriots and militia say they are in the area to help ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, convicted of arson for burning federal land. The sign refers to Ammon Bundy, whose father Cliven Bundy was at the center of an armed standoff in Nevada in 2014. (Les ZaitzThe Oregonian via AP)
Ammon Bundy chats with a protester Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, during a march on behalf of a Harney County ranching family in Burns, Ore. Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights, told The Oregonian that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via AP)
Ryan Bundy walks at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)
Map locates Burns, Oregon, where protestors occupied a national wildlife refuge building; 1c x 2 1/2 inches; 46.5 mm x 63 mm;
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The broadcast was frequently interrupted by the sounds of the protesters shouting and law enforcement officers calling out to them by bullhorn. Fiore repeatedly tried to calm the occupiers by leading them in prayers over the phone.

FOUR HOLDOUTS STILL FACE CHARGES

The four remaining protesters were indicted last week along with 12 others previously arrested on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers during the occupation.

The takeover at Malheur, which began on Jan. 2, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property in the vicinity of the refuge.

The occupation, led by Idaho rancher Ammon Bundy, also was directed as a protest against federal control over millions of acres public land in the West.

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Cliven Bundy, his father, was arrested on Wednesday when he arrived at Portland International Airport on his way to the wildlife refuge to support the militants, according to the Oregonian newspaper.

Cliven, 74, faces conspiracy and weapons charges, the paper reported. He lead a 2014 standoff with the government over Nevada grazing rights that ended with federal agents backing down in the face of about 1,000 armed militiamen.

Ammon Bundy and 10 others were arrested in January in Oregon, most of them during a confrontation with the FBI and state police on a snow-covered roadside where a spokesman for the group, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was shot dead. A 12th member of the group turned himself in to police in Arizona.

The FBI said its agents moved to contain the remaining four holdouts Wednesday evening after one of the occupiers drove an all-terrain vehicle outside the barricades previously set up by the self-styled militia members at the refuge.

FBI agents attempted to approach the driver, and he sped away back to the compound, after which federal agents "moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind" their encampment, the FBI said.

Until Wednesday, FBI and police had largely kept their distance from the buildings occupied by the militants, sealing off access to the refuge headquarters with roadblocks.

"However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action" to ensure everyone's safety, Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said in a statement.

The fate of Bundy and other members of the group who remain in custody has been clouded by the four holdouts, who joined the protest after it started but have so far refused to leave. A judge has cited the continuing standoff as a major obstacle to the release of at least some of those who remain jailed on federal charges.

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