Protesters vow to hold Oregon refuge until Feds give in

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Oregon 'Militia' Occupation Leader: 'We Are Not Threatening Anybody'

The gun-toting protesters holed-up in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon said Monday they're not budging until the government addresses their demands.

The tough talk came as the FBI said it was hoping to bring a "peaceful" end to a standoff at the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

SEE MORE: Oregon protesters find support and scorn on social media

"We feel we have exhausted all prudent measures and have been ignored," said Ammon Bundy, co-leader of the self-styled Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.

They want the U.S. government to "remove its unlawful presence in this county," Bundy said.

Bundy's group seized the government property after splintering off from a larger protest about ranchers' rights in the small town of Burns.

See images of the standoff:

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Ranching dispute in Oregon; protesters take over National Wildlife Refuge
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Protesters vow to hold Oregon refuge until Feds give in
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
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)
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)
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The initial protest in Burns was in support of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, who faced more jail time for setting fires that spread to government land after their initial sentences were extended by about four years each.

While Bundy claimed to be acting in behalf of the Hammonds, the soon-to-be-jailed ranchers distanced themselves from the protesters, and their lawyer told police that "neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond family."

The Hammonds surrendered Monday at the federal prison in San Pedro, California.

SEE ALSO: Obama's gun control measures to spark political, legal fights

Harney County Sheriff David Ward directly addressed those at the refuge during a news conference Monday, telling them: "It's time for you to leave our community, go home to your families and leave this community peacefully."

"You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County," Ward said. "That help ended when that protest became an armed occupation."

Related: Meet Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the Activists Leading the Oregon Standoff

The Hammonds' lawyers said they plan to appeal to President Barack Obama for executive clemency.

No government employees were at the site at the time because of the holidays. It wasn't clear how many people had occupied the building, but those inside have asked for others to join them in several videos posted online.

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The ringleaders are Ammon and Ryan Bundy — sons of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher known for another standoff with the federal government in 2014.

The FBI said in a statement Sunday that it was working with local and state police "to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation."

The agency said it wouldn't be providing details of its response because of "safety considerations for both those inside the refuge as well as the law enforcement officers involved."

Several pickup trucks continued to block the entrance to the refuge Monday, with armed men wearing camouflage and winter gear stationed outside.

Here's what the protestors say they want done:

What Do the Armed Oregon Protesters Occupying a Federal Building Want?

Although there was no visible sign of police, authorities have warned people to stay away and the county has canceled school until next week as a precaution.

MORE COVERAGE: Meet Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the activists leading the Ore. standoff

"These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States," the Harney County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Sunday. "We ask that people stay away from the refuge for their safety."

Related: Oregon Standoff: Armed Protesters, Political Reaction and #YallQaeda

The Bundy brothers and their followers unveiled a redress of grievances addressed to several local officials and alleged that the federal government targeted the Hammonds because they refused to sell their land "to a federal agency."

Bundy insisted that he and others had reached out to local officials about the case before taking over the refuge but never got a response. He said the purpose of the gathering is "to go to work ... to unwind the unconstitutional land transactions that have taken place here."

SEE MORE: Militia members take over wildlife refuge building in Oregon

"We have very specific plans that are going to take place," said Bundy, who gave no specifics.

Ammon Bundy told NBC's TODAY on Monday that the occupiers have no intention of committing violence unless the government intervenes.

"The only violence that, if it comes our way, will be because government is wanting their building back,'' he said. "We're putting nobody in harm's way. We are not threatening anybody. We're 30 miles out of the closest town."

The Bundys claim they were asked to intervene by an unidentified "county representative" who alleged that "he and other county representatives are being intimidated by the FBI." He didn't provide further details of this allegation.

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