The leaders of an armed standoff at a rural wildlife refuge say they came to Oregon's high desert country to help locals deal with an overreaching federal government that has abused people's land rights for decades.

Occupier Ryan Bundy said as a federal trial began Tuesday that the protesters came to enforce the law, and that he wasn't anti-government. But in opening statements prosecutors said Bundy and the other protesters broke the law when they threatened and intimidated federal employees during the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year.

The seven on trial are charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs through intimidation or threats.

The trial in Portland, Oregon, is expected to last until November.