By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/13/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
For the time being, Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy has appeared to have won his week-long battle with the federal government. His case has spurred nationwide attention, and has garnered protestors rallying for his rights.
Clive Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Bureau of Land Management had previously removed hundreds of his cattle from federal land, saying that they were grazing illegally.
Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870. After one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle, Bundy then threatened a "range war" against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch Web site.
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"I have no contract with the United States government," Bundy said. "I was paying grazing fees for management and that's what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay."
Bundy, according to the federal government "owes the American people in excess of $1 million " in unpaid grazing fees and "refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so."
The BLM has since said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.
"Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," BLM Director Neil Kornze said.
"We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner," he said.
The controversy began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend. Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.
"It's not about cows, it's about freedom," Utah resident Yonna Winget told reporters.
"People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power," Bundy's wife, Carol Bundy told television journalists.
One of Bundy's sons, Dave Bundy, was taken into custody for refusing to disperse and resisting arrest last weekend. Hundreds of other protesters, some venturing from interstate, gathered along the road few miles from Bundy's property in solidarity. Dave Bundy was later released.
A spokesman had told reporters that roughly 300 protesters had assembled for the protest, while a BLM representative estimated there were around 100 people.
"We want a peaceful protest, but we also want our voices heard," Cliven Bundy's sister, Chrisie Marshall Bundy said.
Clashes between demonstrators and authorities took a violent turn last week, with cell phone video showing some being tasered at the site, including Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy. Two other protesters were detained, cited and later released according to the BLM.
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