BURNS, Ore., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Three protesters who were involved in the weeks-long Malheur National Wildlife Refuge armed occupation were arrested early Thursday at a checkpoint outside the compound, the FBI said.
Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, and Jason S. Patrick, 43, each face a felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats. It's the same charge leveled against other protesters arrested Tuesday. Five other people who left the compound early Thursday were released, the FBI said. The FBI said the arrests were without incident.
"The FBI and our partners continue to work around the clock to empty the refuge of the armed occupiers in the safest way possible," authorities said.
Several others continue to occupy the refuge, even after eight were arrested Tuesday, including Ammon Bundy, the purported leader of the occupation. He is urging the remaining occupiers to leave the compound.
"I'm asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted," Bundy said in a statement delivered by his lawyer, Mike Arnold. "To those at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families."
Authorities said they are trying to end the siege, which began on Jan. 2, peacefully and without incident.