UPDATE 5:38 p.m.: Traffic moving again, KLAS-TV reported.
Original story below
At least a 100 head of cattle will be released by the Bureau of Land Management from a corral outside of Mesquite, according to a deal struck by upset ranchers and BLM agents in the latest development in the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s cattle, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The BLM, upset that Bundy has refused to pay federal grazing fees, rounded up at least one-third of Bundy’s cattle earlier this week, but on Saturday decided to halt the roundup due to safety concerns for its agents and the general public.
Interstate 15 is closed in both directions about seven miles south of Mesquite because protesters have blocked the freeway, according to Nevada Highway Patrol, KLAS-TV reported.
The protesters have gathered in support of rancher Bundy, and nearly two dozen police officers and a SWAT unit are on scene, KLAS added.
Earlier this week, the decades-long battle escalated when protesters confronted federal agents attempting to roundup Cliven Bundy’s approximately 900 “trespass cattle.”
Bundy does not own the land and has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993, contending he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s claim to the property.
“Historically, ranchers would let their cattle graze on public land, and the government didn’t stop them,” Jeremy Hudia, an Ohio attorney familiar with the legal claims being made, explained to TheBlaze in an email. “Back in the 1930s, however, the land was being harmed by all the uncontrolled grazing. So laws were passed to create a permit process to control the amount of grazing.”
“There is no ‘right’ to use public land for one’s personal gain,” he added. “If that were the case, I would start drilling for oil in Yosemite National Park.”
Bundy, however, doesn’t see things that way.
“I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. Why I raise cattle there and why I can raise cattle there is because I have preemptive rights,” Bundy told TheBlaze Monday. “Who is the trespasser here? Who is the trespasser on this land? Is the United States trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Or is it Cliven Bundy who is trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Who’s the trespasser?”
Bundy told a cheering crowd outside of his ranch, “Good morning America, Good morning world, isn’t it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?” the Review-Journal noted.
This is a developing story; updates will be added.