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Hundreds Rally In Portland, Eugene, Bend To Oust Malheur Occupiers

January 19, 2016

Oregonians across the state braved a soggy afternoon Tuesday to protest the ongoing occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The message for armed occupiers was clear: “Get out! Get out! Get out!”

In Portland, protesters were old and young, native and immigrant, urbanites and those who drove in from Harney County.

People spoke about the value of public lands: their wild and scenic beauty, their capacity to nourish the soul, and their role in protecting birds and wildlife.

Bob Rees of the Association of  Northwest Steelheaders got big cheers for his use of the "T" word.

“Everybody knows what we do to terrorists here in the United States," Rees said. "These people are terrorists. They need to be prosecuted. Throw the bums in jail.”

After the rally, protesters marched in support of federal employees who work on public lands.

In Eugene, Mayor Kitty Piercy backed the opposition, loudly voicing her city's call for the occupiers to leave, according to PRX's Rachael McDonald.

"Stand up for America. Stand up for Eugene. Stand up for Harney County," Piercy said. "Stand up for the things that we care about and treasure and care about and have protected for so many years. And so I join you in saying exactly what you would say: Go home!"

Meanwhile in Burns, armed occupiers are urging local ranchers to stop paying for grazing access to public lands.

Hundreds of people rallied to call for armed-occupiers at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to leave.

Kristian Foden-Vencil