The Bureau of Land Management ended their “cattle round-up” on Saturday, ending a standoff between the Feds and a group of armed Nevada ranchers. The government did vow legal action and repercussions for the actions taking place on this plot of land almost 80 miles north of Las Vegas.
When the BLM made this announcement, militia members began to cheer and sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” There were more than 1,000 on hand at this Nevada ranch to support Clive Bundy, whose cattle are the center of this dispute.
It all started about a month ago when the BLM began an operation to get a hold of 900 roaming cattle who were feeding on federal land. Cliven Bundy, age 67, disputed this action as an encroachment on his constitutional right to the land which he claims he has ancestral ties to and therefore the right to farm. Before the BLM moved in Bundy had ceased paying grazing fees and had also refused to acknowledge a handful of court orders that asked him to stop grazing his cattle on this land. The land in question is half the size of Delaware.
Bundy says his family has a right to the land because it was settled by his Mormon ancestors who came to Nevada in the 19th century. The BLM claim he owes more than one million in federal fees. The BLM resorted to the use of a stun gun on an adult son of Cliven Bundy, an action which has drawn much criticism towards the organization. The issue has become a clear example of excessive force used by the government for conservative ideologies and has also prompted “calls to arms from self-described militia leaders.”
The BLM states that they will continue to try and end this issue with administrative justice. They point out that Bundy owes the taxpayers a large sum of money because he has stopped upholding an arrangement which more than “16,000 public ranch land ranchers” follow every year, not just in Nevada, but around the country. They have also asked all groups involved to strive towards peacefulness in this matter and to try and work with the National Park Service, and the BLM, to end this confrontation in “an orderly manner.”
The BLM says that the reason they are ending the standoff at this moment is that conditions pertaining to the land in question have, along with advice from law enforcement concerning the militiamen, convinced them that their roundup should stop at this moment in order to protect state employees and the public from harm.
There have been no reports of any shots fired at this time by the militia men, however, it has been reported that they are carrying rifles and hand guns. The state Representative of Arizona, Bob Thorpe, said that there is no argument as to whether Bundy broke the law or not, but he did add that he, and fellow state legislators, are not happy that the BLM restricted the protesters access to only, what were deemed, “free speech zones.”
Three people have been arrested in this case, including Bundy’s son Dave. All three have been released as the federal government has withdrawn from the Nevada ranch promising legal action to follow.
By Nick Manai