Ammon Bundy: Remaining protesters should stand down and go home - KPTV - FOX 12

Ammon Bundy: Remaining protesters should stand down and go home

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Courtesy: Multnomah Co. Jail Courtesy: Multnomah Co. Jail
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The courtroom at the federal courthouse in Portland was not big enough Wednesday to hold the dozens of people who wanted to see the Malheur Wildlife Refuge protesters arrested Tuesday.

One by one, the seven suspects faced a judge on charges of conspiracy to impede or injure an officer.

Through his lawyer, protest leader Ammon Bundy said he wants the rest of the occupiers to go home.

Attorney Mike Arnold shared Ammon Bundy’s message to the remaining occupiers in Burns.

“I’m asking the federal government to let the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted. To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here.  Please stand down.”

According to Arnold, Bundy penned the statement in custody, right before going to court.

Stripped off their cowboy hats and denim, the seven suspects appeared in blue jumpsuits and handcuffs, with six of them opting for court appointed counsel.

Their lawyers argued for release prior to a preliminary hearing, but prosecutors said they were all a flight risk and might return to standoff in Burns. The judge agreed.

The suspects did have their defenders at the courthouse.

Mark Duff says he is an independent journalist, just like suspect Peter Santilli, and thinks Santilli’s arrest is unjust.

“The charges are not only directed at Pete Santilli, but at journalists as a whole who are airing unpopular opinions on the internet and not advocating any kind of violence,” he said.

Wednesday morning, the remaining protesters said they had no plans to leave and relinquish the refuge back to federal officials, spending part of the morning fortifying their locations and blocking entrances to the area with heavy equipment.

None of the suspects said much in court, though Ryan Bundy was upbeat and polite, even asking the judge how she’s doing.

His brother Ammon had a stern message for his fellow protesters back in Burns.

“Go home and hug your families.  This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home,” he said.

All of the suspects will have detention hearings Friday to determine whether or not they should stay in jail, then, they will have a preliminary hearing next Wednesday.

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