BURNS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon sheriff met with the leader of a small, armed group that has been occupying a national wildlife refuge for almost a week and asked them to leave peacefully.
Harney County Sheriff David Ward and Ammon Bundy met Thursday afternoon. The sheriff's office said via Twitter that Ward asked Bundy to respect the wishes of local residents and leave the area. The sheriff's office said the two sides planned to talk again Friday.
Ward was cheered at a packed community meeting in Bend, Oregon, on Wednesday evening when he said the group needed to leave so local people could get back to their lives.
The group objecting to federal land policy seized buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country on Saturday. Authorities have not yet stepped in to remove the group of roughly two dozen people, some from as far away as Arizona and Michigan.
Bundy has told reporters they will leave when there's a plan in place to turn over federal lands to locals. The group also objects to a lengthy prison sentence for two local ranchers convicted of arson.