BURNS, Ore. – Protests are planned in the city closest to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where four armed occupiers remain.
Related: Occupier says 'we're not dead yet'
The protests are being organized by an umbrella group for self-proclaimed patriots, called the Pacific Patriots Network. The group put out a “call to action” for people to converge on Burns for peaceful demonstrations. The announcement reminds people to not carry long guns in town.
The protest organizers also say they want the remaining occupiers to leave the refuge.
One of the Pacific Patriots' founders, Idaho resident Brandon Curtiss, said he is a close friend of Ammon Bundy, the occupation leader who has been arrested. Curtiss said he was also friends with LaVoy Finicum, the protestor who was killed when officers used deadly force against him earlier this week.
The FBI said they released video to show that the shooting of Finicum was justifiable. But protest organizers disagreed.
“LaVoy was a very good friend. He was a good man and it’s very tragic," said Brandon Curtiss. "We feel like that could have been completely avoided, we feel it was a wrongful shooting and wrongful death."
Curtiss said the group's hope is to give the community a voice. Along with Saturday's protest, there will be a protest at the Harney County courthouse on Monday.
“They want their grievances heard…the community wants the militarized police force of the federal government to leave their county,” said Curtiss.
It remains to be seen how many visitors are drawn to Burns by the call to action, and how many locals take part in any protest events.
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