BUNKERVILLE, Nevada, Dec. 31, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Las Vegas Metro Police were dispatched Saturday to the Bundy Ranch outside Bunkerville, Nev., where as many as 50 demonstrators gathered to protest the federal government’s designation of Gold Butte area as a national monument.
Plans for the demonstrations had been posted on social media pages, including those attributed to the Bundy Ranch and the LaVoy Finicum “Liberty Rising” page.
“The time is now to rise up and let our voices be heard,” the posts read.
“The Government has once again abused us with their overreaching power. It is our duty and obligation to STAND UP and get the attention of OUR elected officials. If you enjoy Gold Butte, camping, picnics, 4-wheeling, hunting, fishing and just enjoying this Public Land please come out and let your voices be heard. They will soon shut down access to this land that many of us have enjoyed Freely for many years with our friends and family!!!”
The reaction comes just days after President Obama announced the designation of two new national monuments in the Western U.S.: the Bears Ears Monument, which encompasses 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah, and the Gold Butte Monument, which covers 300,000 acres adjacent to the Bundy Ranch in southeastern Nevada.
Police monitoring Saturday’s protest told Gephardt Daily that Saturday’s demonstration was peaceful and appeared uneventful.
The Bundy family has long maintained the federal government has no constitutional jurisdiction over public lands. Saturday’s protest took place not far from where that feud came to a head in April 2014, when armed supporters of Cliven Bundy — many of them militia members — thwarted BLM attempts to seize Bundy’s cattle in a dispute over unpaid grazing fees.
Bundy and sons Ammon, Ryan, Dave and Melvin are among 17 defendants facing charges in the standoff in a series of three trials set to begin Feb. 6, 2017.
Charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, assault on a federal law enforcement officer, using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of justice, interference with commerce by extortion, and obstruction of justice.
If convicted, the Bundys and other Bunkerville defendants could end up spending decades behind bars.
Ammon Bundy and brother Ryan, and five other defendants were recently found not guilty of federal conspiracy charges stemming from the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. That standoff ended shortly after the death of Arizona strip rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a group spokesperson who was shot and killed during a traffic stop orchestrated in part by paid federal informants, the FBI and Oregon State Police.
Jeanette Finicum, LaVoy’s widow, has retained Los Angeles attorney Brian Claypool to represent the Finicum family in a wrongful death suit.