Update (1:04 p.m. CST): Fry appears to have turned himself to the FBI at around 11:00 AM PST.
Update (12 p.m. CST): While three protesters have surrendered to the feds, 27-year-old protester David Fry has refused to leave the refuge, saying he never agreed to end the occupation.
“I’m going to stay here,” Fry said in a live feed of the event. “If they attack me, I have to defend myself.”
“I’m thinking that the American people need to know, that when they’re trampling on your rights this much, sometimes it’s better to die,” Fry said. “I declare war.”
Original story continues below
The remaining four armed protesters holding out at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are set to surrender today after nearly six weeks of government defiance.
The FBI in a press release yesterday revealed federal agents encircled the refuge and set up barricades after one of the occupiers was spotted driving an ATV outside of an established perimeter, speeding back inside when agents chased him.
At one point last night, lawmaker Michele Fiore was recruited to negotiate over the phone with the occupiers, successfully assuring them the FBI would not invade during a live stream tuned into by more than 64,000 people.
“Occupier Sean Anderson said he spoke with the FBI and that he and three other holdouts agreed to turn themselves in at an FBI checkpoint at 8 a.m. Thursday,” reports the Associated Press. “Anderson said they would leave their weapons in their vehicles and walk to a checkpoint established nearby, carrying an American flag.”
As of early Thursday morning, Fiore and Rev. Franklin Graham were traveling to meet with the protesters before their surrender to the FBI.
“I have been talking with the last four holdouts in the #Oregonstandoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge every day by phone for the last week at their request and at the request of the FBI,” Graham said on Facebook. “Last night I was on the phone with them for several hours, was able to have prayer with them, and they have said they would come out today.”
In an odd turn of events, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose two sons played integral roles in the occupation, was arrested Wednesday evening after arriving at the Portland International Airport.
According to the Bundy Ranch Facebook page, Bundy, 74, faces federal charges stemming from his own standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, with Bureau of Land Management agents over grazing fees in 2014.
Oregon Live reports Bundy, like his sons, was arrested on “a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer,” and “weapons charges.”
If the standoff does end peacefully, it would wrap up a deadly 41-day siege that saw one occupier, Lavoy Finicum, lose his life at the hands of federal agents.