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MODESTO, Calif. April 20, 2018 – Anti-government militant Ammon Bundy and other proponents of seizing federal public land from public ownership are scheduled to speak Saturday at Modesto Junior College as part of the annual Range Rights Symposium. Local residents will join members of the Center for Biological Diversity to rally for public lands during the event.
“Ammon Bundy and his fanatical followers are on a road show to incite division and hatred for our public lands,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Bundys are trying to grow a menacing fringe group that wraps itself in flags and cowboy hats to fool people into believing deranged and dangerous conspiracy theories. They’ve shown they’re willing to use force and intimidation to take what doesn’t belong to them.”
What: Rally outside Range Rights Symposium
When: 3 p.m., Saturday, April 21
Where: In front of the Ag Pavilion, Modesto Junior College — West Campus, Modesto, Calif.
In 1998 and again in 2013, courts ruled that hundreds of the Bundy family’s livestock had been illegally roaming 750,000 acres of sensitive public land near the Nevada-Arizona line. The courts ordered that the cows be removed.
But when federal authorities attempted to remove the cows in 2014, the Bundys organized a dangerous armed standoff and intimidated the government into halting the operation.
Today much of the land the Bundy’s cows continue to occupy is protected as Gold Butte National Monument. Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of the family, owes more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and fines, according to federal officials.
In January a federal judge in Nevada dismissed all charges against him and his sons related to the 2014 Bunkerville standoff.
In 2016 Ammon Bundy led an armed takeover and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which did significant damage to the refuge and divided the local community. Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants were acquitted by a jury in October 2016.
The Bundys and their followers have been emboldened by these recent court victories. They’re making appearances throughout the West to foment anti-public-lands sentiment and spread misinformation in an attempt to wrest control of public lands from the American people. The animals, plants and communities that rely on and cherish public lands are threatened if the Bundys’ radical ideology spreads.