More protesters arriving in Bundy, BLM cattle dispute - 8 News NOW

More protesters arriving in Bundy, BLM cattle dispute

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LAS VEGAS -- More protesters are showing up to support rancher Cliven Bundy, who is resisting federal rangers outside Mesquite.

So far, the Bureau of Land Management has not backed down. The agency says Bundy's cattle are on public land illegally.

People are coming in from out of state to hold off the federal rangers and many are armed.

The Bundy family has allowed their cattle to graze on federal land illegally for the past 20 years, according to federal authorities. Saturday, the BLM started rounding up their cattle, prompting protesters to gather.

Tensions reached a boiling point Wednesday after rangers tased Cliven Bundy's son Ammon Bundy twice, leaving bloody marks on his neck and chest.

Tensions increase as feds seize Nevada rancher's cattle

A sister to Cliven Bundy also told 8 News NOW that a BLM ranger hit her with his car.

Now, armed militia are joining the protesters but not everyone is happy about it.

Ammon Bundy is telling his supporters that federal rangers won't hesitate to go on the attack, if necessary.

"These are heavily armed individuals with fully automatic weapons," Ammon Bundy said.

For days, the land around the Bundy ranch has seemed somewhat like a police state to people in the community.

"Throwing women to the ground, tasing them, sicking K-9 dogs on them," Ernie Jessop, a protester from Utah, said.

Those accusations have caught the attention of private militia from across the country, who feel First Amendment rights are being violated.

"That is what we do. We provide armed response," Jim Lardy with Operation Mutual Aid said.

Lardy came from Montana to join the protesters, and he says he is not afraid to shoot, if necessary.

"They have guns. We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government," Lardy said.

He says other militia members are joining him.

"There is many more coming," Lardy said.

For the small community where the dispute is taking place, violence isn't a part of the conversation.

"These people that are coming in could totally disrupt everything," restaurant owner Judy Metz said.

Metz says adding guns and militia men to the mix could lead to lives lost.

"That frightens me. That absolutely frightens me," Metz said.

"If somebody does something or says something, and somebody pulls a gun, that is going to be it," Overton resident Michelle Webb said.

For now, things remain peaceful. However, these protesters stand ready, expecting things could turn ugly at any moment.

There was one success for these protesters. The BLM took down the controversial First Amendment areas at the urging of Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"Earlier this week, I advised the BLM not to limit or hinder the constitutional rights of Nevadans and be mindful of its conduct. The ability to speak out against government actions is one of the freedoms we all cherish as Americans. Today I am asking all individuals who are near the situation to act with restraint. Although tensions remain high, escalation of current events could have negative, long lasting consequences that can be avoided."

I-Team: Feds, Nevada rancher facing off over public lands

As for the fight between rangers and ranchers, the BLM agents said they felt threatened and were forced to use tasers, after a protester kicked a K-9.

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