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Oregon occupation leader rejects sheriff's bid to end standoff

Oregon occupation leader rejects sheriff's bid to end standoff

By Jonathan Allen and Jim Urquhart for Reuters

The leader of a group of armed protesters occupying the headquarters of a federal wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon met briefly with a local sheriff on Thursday but rejected the lawman's offer of safe passage out of the state to end the standoff.

Ammon Bundy and other occupiers left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in two vehicles and traveled to a neutral location along a remote Oregon roadside to meet for about five minutes with Harney County Sheriff David Ward.

During that meeting, which was attended by two Reuters reporters, Ward told Bundy that he was seeking a peaceful resolution to the nearly week-long standoff and offered to escort the occupiers out of Oregon.

But Bundy, saying that the sheriff had not addressed the occupiers' grievances, declined.

"We plan on staying," Bundy told reporters following a meeting. "I'm not afraid to go out of state. I don't need an escort."

The sheriff's office later said in a tweet that Ward had plans to meet with Bundy again on Friday.

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