Armed men occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are tearing down part of a fence erected by the government to keep ranchers out of federally owned property. The escalation comes 10 days into the standoff at the fowl sanctuary south of Burns, Oregon. Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who head the group occupying the refuge, announced they would be tearing down the portion of the fence and replacing it with a gate, to allow local ranchers access to pastures.

The Bundy brothers also said they would not end the occupation until Dwight and Steven Hammond, the two ranchers recently imprisoned by the government, are set free. The Hammonds were prosecuted by the government under a terrorism statute, over fires set on their property that damaged 140 acres of federally owned land. Government prosecutors insisted on a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. FULL REPORT