Militia, protesters converge on small Nevada town - 8 News NOW

Militia, protesters converge on small Nevada town

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LAS VEGAS -- Protesters are arriving from across the country to join in local rancher Cliven Bundy's fight against the feds.

People are arriving from Utah, Texas, Arizona and Montana. Some are armed militia men who say they have come to protect the family and protesters who are standing up to the federal government.

SLIDESHOW: Battle continues between Cliven Bundy, BLM

The Bundy movement in Bunkerville, Nevada is preparing for possible violence. Bundy addressed supporters Friday flanked by three armed body guards as he delivered a message about the country's founding fathers.

"They wanted a government close to the people," he said.

His son says they've seen armed snipers patrolling the protest area from a distance and they've already had two run-ins with federal rangers.

Bundy has allowed his cattle to graze public land illegally for the past 20 years. Last Saturday,  The Bureau of Land Management started rounding them up and that's when people started protesting. Following two recent run-ins with the feds, volunteer militia have offered to protect Bundy. They see him as a hero.

"We want to get ourselves between this family and these federal agents," Brand Thornton with the Southern Nevada Militia.

Watching the crowds from the top of a nearby hill, he has no reservations about using his weapon, if need be.

"We have pretty strong feelings that this could erupt in violence," Thornton  said.

The issue has received national attention drawing people to the small community about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Mark Belding felt he needed to be at the protest. He drove from Las Vegas.

"I don't know if he's legally right or wrong, but I'm here to support him," he said.

Ammon Bundy, Cliven's son, insists things should remain peaceful and his family doesn't condone violence.

"We've asked that we don't carry rifles in camp. We love sight arms, but just leave your rifles in your trucks," Ammon Bundy said.

However, after federal BLM officers tased Ammon twice and family member Margaret Bundy Houston was thrown to the ground, the militia men say they aren't taking chances.

"I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it," Thornton said.

There is a big gathering slated to take place Saturday at 9 a.m. The Bundy's insist it will be peaceful.

 

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