English: Headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in SE Oregon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(CNN)A group of armed protesters have taken over a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land, a spokesman for the group told CNN.
The protesters occupied part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns after a march supporting Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers who are convicted of arson.
Prosecutors said the Hammonds set the fire, which burned about 130 acres in 2001, to cover up poaching. The father and son were sentenced to five years in prison.
The Hammonds said they lit the fire to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires, CNN affiliate KTVZ reported.