New militants continue to join the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The armed occupiers still won’t tell exactly how many people are occupying the refuge headquarters, but it’s clear some newcomers have shown up. OPB reporters estimate that the number of occupiers has grown to about 30, even with the apparent departure of some of the first occupiers.
Carl Brammann came from Tennesee to join the occupation.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing the federal government tromp all over the Constitution like it’s nothing,” said Bramman.
Some of the joiners are from Harney County; others came from as far as Arkansas and Ohio.
Food and supplies for the militants also continue to stream in from across the country uninhibited.
The occupiers have developed an elaborate staffing system with schedules and responsibilities laid out clearly on charts. The militant women organize new supplies as they arrive and cook meals together in the kitchen.
Militants constructed a short road within the refuge complex Thursday. The road connected kitchen and volunteer facilities with another road within the complex. “It was just a goat trail before,” said one militant, who declined to provide his name. “People were slipping and falling.”
Response to the road building was swift.
“Building new roads without appropriate planning makes important cultural artifacts vulnerable to desecration and disrespect,” said Megan Nagel with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “It also puts habitat and wildlife at risk.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistant director of external affairs, Jason Holm, condemned the militants for what he called “disgusting, ghoulish behavior.”
And members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, which has ancestral territory managed by the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, called on the federal government to take action against the occupiers.
“Armed protesters don’t belong here,” said Charlotte Rodrique, Burns Paiute Tribal chair. “They continue to desecrate one of our most important sacred site.”