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Who is Ammon Bundy, the 'anti-government activist' arrested for refusing to leave Idaho statehouse?

Ammon Bundy, who led an armed standoff against federal agents in Oregon in 2016, was arrested at the Idaho state capitol for trespassing and other charges
UPDATED AUG 26, 2020
Ammon Bundy (Getty Images)
Ammon Bundy (Getty Images)

On the eve of August 25, 2020, Ammon Bundy, a prominent conservative advocate and anti-government activist was taken into custody after he refused to vacate a meeting room at the statehouse, reports the Associated Press. 

Bundy refused to leave the room where a few hours earlier angry protesters forced out lawmakers. He told The Idaho Press's Ryan Suppe that "I'm just gonna sit here." He didn’t respond to a reporter who shouted questions as he was wheeled into an elevator in a chair he apparently refused to get out of. Two other protesters were also arrested after police cleared the room and they also refused to follow police commands to leave. Another person was taken into custody earlier in the same room where protesters shouted down lawmakers.

"I’m going to sit here and assert the right of the people to keep their government accountable by filming them, by recording them and reporting that back to the people," Bundy told CBS2 prior to his arrest. "...which is what you’re doing, and you have every right to do that, and your company has every right to do that, but so do the people. And they will not separate the two because they have certified it, or they have somehow authorized it through a license."

As soon as the news broke on Twitter, people started reacting to it, as one user made fun of his tactic and said, "Pro tip. When you handcuff yourself to an object while protesting, please make sure it doesn’t have wheels. Ammon Bundy ain’t the brightest," while another made fun of him and said, "Is Ammon Bundy not bright enough to realize that the chair he zip-tied himself to was on wheels and therefore movable? Quite possibly."



While some said that this is how they treat White lawbreakers and said, "For some reason the Idaho State Police do not shoot violent, heavily armed, white insurrectionist Ammon Bundy but instead wheel him gently to a squad car. This is not police reform, just the way they have always treated white lawbreakers."


Another user took a dig into his 2014 case and said, "Cliven Bundy is a cheap cheat, Ammon Bundy and company were unwelcome traitors in my state, and most of you hide behind the threat of firearms. So, man up! Idiots that don’t pay their grazing fees don’t deserve their cattle. The Bundy Legend is based on lies."


Who is Ammon Bundy?

Ammon Bundy who is the son of Cliven Bundy was born in 1975 in Nevada. Bundy resided in Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Idaho. He is married to Lisa Bundy and has six children, three girls and three boys.

Bundy and other members of the far right, so-called Patriot Movement, have been protesting various coronavirus related health measures — such as mask mandates — across the Northwest since the pandemic began in March. According to NPR Bundy has been part of disruptive protests since the state's Republican-controlled legislature convened for a special session on August 24 to address coronavirus-related bills.

Bundy came first into the limelight in 2014 when he participated in the Bundy Standoff that happened in Bunkerville, Nevada, in which his father, Cliven, was the central figure. The Bureau of Land Management attempted to confiscate Cliven's cattle for grazing on public land for years without a permit.  In an interview with Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren on April 10, 2014, Ammon said that he believed that a federal court does not have competent jurisdiction and, "If someone came in, busted into my house and abused my children, and so I call the cops, they don't respond, and then I take them to court. I show up at the courtroom, look on the stand, and it's the very person that abused my children looking down at me in a black robe. How in the world are we going to get justice in that court?"

Then it was a 41-day siege over control of federal lands at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon that kept Bundy in the headlines. On January 2, 2016, an armed group of far-right extremists seized and occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County and continued to occupy it until law enforcement made a final arrest on February 11, 2016.

In 2016, a jury acquitted him and on December 20, 2017, Federal judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the Bundy case. Later, on January 8, 2018,  Navarro declared the mistrial to be with prejudice, effectively dismissing the charges, on the grounds that the defendants could not receive a fair trial. "The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated."