More than 100 protesters gathered in Bend, Oregon, Friday to rally against the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The protesters spoke in support of federal public lands.
Protesters carried signs that read “Go home bullies” and showcased over-sized photos of ducks.
Alice Elshoff is one of the self-described “Grannies against bullies” who organized the rally. She’s a leader of the group Great Old Broads For Wilderness.
“We are ready to go over and send those bullies back to their mamas!” Elshoff said.
Elshoff also said Americans are lucky to have wildlife refuges.
“Where all the critters that we love — finned, feathered, furred — they have these places to come and be safe, to find food and find safe places to raise their young,” Elshoff said.
One of the caretakers at the Malheur refuge field station spoke at the rally about the varied species at the refuge. He said he’s been asked by law enforcement to stay away from the refuge station, but he is desperate to return and care for the wintering birds who rely on a regular feeding program.
This man is a refuge caretaker. He’s desperate to get in & care for birds who rely on his feeding program. pic.twitter.com/Owr5rm0fxY— Amanda Peacher (@amandapeacher) January 15, 2016
The rally was the first of several anti-occupation events scheduled across Oregon. Protests are planned in Eugene, Portland and Bend next week.