WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Fresh off their acquittals for the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon, and waiting to be moved to Nevada ahead of their trial for participating in a 2014 stand-off with law enforcement, brothers Ryan and Ammon Bundy said in interviews on Tuesday they "will continue to stand."
Federal officials were surprised that the Bundy brothers and five others were acquitted for the 41-day siege in Oregon, but Ammon and Ryan were not -- and they say they'll do it again if President Barack Obama makes good on promises to turn 350,000 acres abutting the Bundy ranch in Nevada into a federally protected area.
"We will continue to stand," Ammon Bundy said of his family's opposition to federal management of land they say should be left in the hands of local residents. "It was our duty to stand. We did it peacefully. We did it legally, and the jury's verdicts confirmed that."
The Bundys and others were acquitted last week on federal charges of conspiracy and other weapons charges in Oregon for the armed takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to draw attention to two ranchers imprisoned for setting fire to public land as well as to protest what they call federal mismanagement of land.
Ryan Bundy said creating a monument at Gold Butte, a 350,000-acre area of desert filled with soaring peaks, red sandstone formations and ancient Native American etchings, would be an abuse of presidential power and blatantly unconstitutional.
"The government should be scared. They are in the wrong. The land does not belong to the government. The land belongs to the people of Clark County, not to the people of the United States," Ryan said of Obama's plans to preserve Gold Butte, adding that "the only peaceful resolution to all this is for them to obey the Constitution. Read it, understand it, abide by it. There doesn't have to be violence. None of that has to happen if they would just abide by the Constitution."
The Bundy brothers are due to stand trial in February in Nevada on federal firearms, conspiracy and assault charges linked to the 2014 stand-off between law enforcement and the Bundy family and its supporters at Gold Butte.
The stand-off started when federal officials came to remove cattle belonging to their father, Cliven Bundy, because he'd disobeyed numerous court orders to do so himself and owed more than $1 million in fines and fees for allowing his cattle to graze there while not paying for doing so.