US government facility held by militia

An unknown number of protesting armed militia are involved in a stand-off with local authorities in a US government facility in Oregon.

Armed members of a private militia have taken over a remote US government facility in the western state of Oregon to protest against the imprisonment of two local farmers.

The militia members took over the unoccupied headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refugee late on Saturday, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

They continued to hold the facility Sunday and the group's leader Ammon Bundy said they were prepared to stay "as long as we need to".

The group was "making a hard stance against this overreach, the taking of people's land and resources", he said in video posted to his Facebook page.

Local sheriff David Ward said the group was working to overthrow the local and federal government.

The militia members had broken off Saturday from a peaceful protest against plans to imprison two local ranchers for arson after they were convicted of starting a fire on federal property.

Federal law enforcement were expected to proceed with caution after an armed stand-off led by Bundy's father, rancher Cliven Bundy, in Nevada in 2014.

It was unclear how many people were at the facility, with local authorities putting the number at just 15 and the militia claiming as many as 150.

Source: AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch