BURNS, Ore. – Law enforcement officers aren't releasing many details about an armed standoff at a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon. Here is a bit about what we know — and what we don't — about the standoff between a group of armed protesters angry over federal land-use policy and law enforcement officers:
Q. What's going on at the refuge?
A. Federal and state law enforcement authorities have blocked the roads leading to the refuge, but one of the armed protesters at the refuge is uploading videos and livestreaming footage from the refuge on his YouTube channel, "DefendYourBase."
One of David Fry's videos showed a member of the group using an excavator to dig a large hole or trench. Another showed a helicopter repeatedly flying over the headquarters buildings, and people at the refuge remarked that it appeared to have camera equipment attached.
Some of those at the refuge have pledged to stand and fight if law enforcement officers attempt to remove them from the site. The group is heavily armed.
Q. What actions are law enforcement agencies taking?
A. The FBI hasn't said what steps it will take next. Neither have state or local law enforcement officers. At a news conference held late Wednesday morning, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward became emotional as he urged the armed activists still at the refuge to leave.
Ward said the standoff was tearing the community apart, and said, "there doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community."
Q. What's next for those arrested?
A. So far, eight people have been arrested, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy. They all face the same charge — conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force. However, charges could be added or dropped depending on the results of the FBI investigation, which is still underway.
Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne are being held in the Multnomah County jail and are expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday afternoon.
Another member of the armed group, Jon Ritzheimer, turned himself in in Peoria, Arizona.
Q. Why did federal officials wait so long to take action?
A. It's not clear why law enforcement officials chose Tuesday evening as the time to make their arrests and converge on the refuge after nearly a month of taking a largely hands-off approach. But they were facing increasing criticism from people, including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who thought they should have moved sooner to end the occupation.