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Armed Group Occupying Oregon Refuge Clashes With Environmentalists

"These people are trying to take the land away."

Oregon standoff (Image source: Twitter)

BURNS, Ore. (TheBlaze/AP) — The armed activists occupying a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon clashed with environmentalists Saturday as a standoff stretched into a 15th day.

The Oregonian reports that a shouting match erupted as members of the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmental group, tried to speak at a news briefing.

The center's executive director Kieran Suckling tried to speak but the activists screamed and booed him.

"We're here to speak up for public land, which belongs to the public," Suckling continued over the roar, the Oregonian said. "These people are trying to take the land away."

The paper added that Pete Santilli, one of the occupiers, pulled out a bullhorn and started screaming "communist" and "fascist" and then flipped on a siren and said, "You're under arrest for bull****ting."

Suckling says his group had a more civil interaction with other occupiers afterward. He says it was important to be present and to not criticize the occupation from the sidelines.

The armed group took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 to protest federal land use policies. So far, authorities have not tried to remove the group from refuge.

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