Three Oregon occupiers, surrounded by FBI, surrender as negotiations continue

Oregon Protester's Anger at Occupation Death and Arrests
Oregon Protester's Anger at Occupation Death and Arrests


Three of the four occupiers at an Oregon wildlife refuge appeared to surrender Thursday morning while mediators tried to coax out the fourth amid tense negotiations.

"Unless my grievances are heard, I will not come out," David Fry, 27, could be heard saying on a livestreamed audio feed. Fry said he was unhappy that his taxes were going toward abortions and conflicts in the Middle East, and said he wants "liberty or death."

The first three occupiers — Jeff Banta, Sean Anderson and Sandy Anderson — were taken in without incident Thursday morning after FBI agents surrounded the compound overnight.

Click through images form the Oregon wildlife refuge protest:

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But Fry stayed behind, as Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore and evangelist Franklin Graham asked him to surrender peacefully in an emotionally charged exchange over the phone.

"You have a very powerful voice. You have a very powerful passion," Fiore said, adding Fry would have more influence on the outside.

The FBI's decision to encircle the last of the holdouts marked a dramatic escalation to a mostly slow-plodding armed demonstration at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The ringleaders, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and other protesters were arrested last month amid the occupation, and Ammon Bundy called for the remaining occupiers to give up.

Agents "moved to contain" the holdouts after one allegedly drove outside previously-established barricades and then back in at high speed when approached by the FBI, the bureau said in a statement.

Thursday's events followed a phone call Wednesday night between the protesters and negotiators that was also livestreamed online. In the call, the occupiers warned that the incident could end in bloodshed.

But an occupier identified as Sean Anderson — one of the remaining four — said that the stragglers would turn themselves in once Fiore and Graham arrived at the wildlife refuge.

SEE MORE: Who Are the Four Holdouts in the Oregon Refuge?

In the sometimes fiery phone call, Anderson, 48, repeated that the occupiers weren't technically giving up what they stand for.

"We're not surrendering, we're turning ourselves in," said. "It's going against everything we believe in."

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Fiore was also on the phone call, which was streamed by self-described "liberty activist" Gavin Seim.

"We have to walk to them with our hands raised, no weapons. I told [the FBI] we're going to be carrying American flags," Anderson told the assemblywoman. "In the morning, once we get word that you and the reverend are at the checkpoint, we will proceed with our surrender."

SEE MORE: Federal Jury Indicts Arrested Oregon Protesters

As the confrontation unfolded in Oregon on Wednesday, the Bundy brothers' father, Cliven, was taken into federal custody in Portland. It was not immediately clear what charges he faced.

Anderson's 47-year-old wife, Sandy, said earlier on the call that her husband and the other two occupiers — Fry and Jeff Banta, 46 — had persuaded her to join them in giving themselves up.

"They want me to agree to it, and I will for them," she said. "I want everybody to know that we'll never see the light of day again from prison."

The protesters overran the then-empty wildlife refuge 250 miles from Portland on Jan. 2. They demanded the return of federal land they felt had been taken from the public, and the exoneration of two ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to public land.

SEE MORE: Oregon Townsfolk Are Tired of Occupiers

Ryan and Ammon Bundy, ages 43 and 40, were among five occupiers arrested during a traffic stop on Jan. 26 as they drove to a public meeting.

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Another vocal member of the group, 54-year-old Robert LaVoy Finicum,was shot dead during that encounterby law enforcement officials who said he ignored their demands to surrender. Finicum's family rejects the FBI's suggestion he was armed.

Cliven Bundy, 74, was arrested and taken into federal custody on Wednesday as the standoff at the refuge unfolded.

Records showed Cliven Bundy wasbooked into Portland's Multnomah County Jail late Wednesday.

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