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Nevada Family Claims Victory, as Govt. Releases Cattle

Posted by feww on April 13, 2014

Gov. officials end stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert

[The following is mirrored from Reuters News Agency]

(Reuters) – U.S. officials ended a stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert on Saturday, calling off the government’s roundup of cattle it said were illegally grazing on federal land and giving about 300 animals back to the rancher who owned them.

The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days. Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.

Protesters gather at the Bureau of Land Management's base camp near Bunkerville, Nevada
Protesters gather at the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp, where the cattle that were seized from rancher Cliven Bundy are being held, near Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014.  Credit: REUTERS/Jim Urquhart. More images…

Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy’s ranch to support him in a standoff that tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies.

The bureau had called in a team of armed rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle on Saturday but backed down in the interests of safety.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” the bureau’s director, Neil Kornze, said in a statement.

The protesters, who at the height of the standoff numbered about 1,000, met the news with applause. Then they quickly advanced on the metal pens where the cattle confiscated earlier in the week were being held.

After consultations with the rancher’s family, the bureau decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, and the crowd began to disperse.

“This is what I prayed for,” said Margaret Houston, one of Bundy’s sisters. “We are so proud of the American people for being here with us and standing with us.”

A number of Bundy’s supporters, who included militia members from California, Idaho and other states, dressed in camouflage and carried rifles and sidearms. During the stand-off, some chanted “open that gate” and “free the people.”

A man who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he had traveled from Idaho along with two fellow militia members to support Bundy.

“If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,” said the man, dressed in camouflage pants and a black flak jacket crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an AR-15 rifle. “I’m ready to pull the trigger if fired upon,” Scott said.

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