Key events in the occupation of the Oregon wildlife refuge

AP News
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Posted: Feb 12, 2016 5:50 AM
Key events in the occupation of the Oregon wildlife refuge

Here is timeline of events in the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon:

— Jan. 2, 2016: A protest takes place in Burns, Oregon, amid mounting tension over prison sentences for two local ranchers. Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit fires on federal land to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. They were convicted and served a year or less. A federal judge later ruled their terms were too short and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. A group of armed protesters, led by Ammon Bundy, breaks away from the protest and travels 30 miles south to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

— Jan. 4, 2016: The Hammonds report to prison in California, and their attorney announces that they'll seek pardons from President Barack Obama. The Hammonds distance themselves from the armed group.

— Jan. 5, 2016: Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, an Arizona rancher often serving as spokesman for the occupiers, says he believes there's a warrant for his arrest and tells reporters: "I'm not going to spend my last days in a cell. This world is too beautiful to spend it in a cell."

— Jan. 6, 2016: Cheers erupt at a community meeting in Burns when Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward says it's time for the occupiers to "pick up and go home."

— Jan. 7, 2016: Ward and two other sheriffs meet with Bundy and other occupation leaders at a remote intersection, but nothing is resolved.

— Jan. 11: 2016: The occupiers announce they're going through documents and accessing computers used by employees at the refuge. They tear down a stretch of government-erected fence, saying they are giving a local rancher access to the preserve. The rancher later says he didn't give the occupiers permission to enter his property.

— Jan. 19, 2016: Several hundred people rally in Portland — about 300 miles north of the remote refuge in southeastern Oregon — to demand that Bundy end the occupation and to note that federal management makes it possible for all kinds of people to enjoy public lands.

— Jan. 20: 2016: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she's angry that federal authorities have not yet taken action against the occupiers and that she plans to bill the U.S. government for what the standoff has cost Oregon taxpayers.

— Jan. 21, 2016: Bundy goes to the airport in Burns where federal officials have set up a staging area and, with reporters watching, speaks on the phone with who is apparently an FBI negotiator.

— Jan. 23, 2016: Occupiers hold an event at the refuge for ranchers to renounce grazing permits, but only one rancher from New Mexico takes part.

— Jan. 26, 2016: Bundy and other occupation leaders leave the preserve to hold an evening meeting in a town about 100 miles north of the refuge. The FBI and Oregon State Police move in to make arrests on a highway, resulting in a confrontation that leads police to shoot and kill Finicum. Most of the occupiers, thought to number about two dozen, immediately clear out of the refuge. Others straggle out in the following days, with three more arrests made.

— Jan. 28, 2016: The FBI releases an aerial video of the fatal traffic stop. Authorities say it shows Finicum reaching toward a loaded gun before police shoot him.

— Jan. 29: 2016: Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne and five others appear in federal court in Portland, where a judge denies their release.

— Feb. 1, 2016: Four holdouts remain at the refuge and say they want to be allowed to go without arrest. Bundy calls for them to leave.

— Feb. 10, 2016: The FBI surrounds the last four occupiers as the holdouts argue with a negotiator and yell at law enforcement officers in armored vehicles to back off.

—Feb. 11, 2016: The final holdouts give up end surrender to authorities. And federal officials say nine additional people from six states have been charged in connection with the standoff, bringing the total number to 25.