Protesters gather as Malheur trial kicks off

Opening statements began Tuesday for the defendants

A protester stands outside of the Multnomah County Courthouse, September 13 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A handful of people showed up outside a federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon, as a lengthy trial got underway for seven people who were involved in a weekslong standoff earlier this year at a national wildlife refuge near Burns.

Opening statements were beginning Tuesday for the defendants, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, part of a Nevada ranching family embroiled in a long-running dispute over land use.

A protester stands outside of the Multnomah County Courthouse, September 13 2016. (KOIN)
A protester stands outside of the Multnomah County Courthouse, September 13 2016. (KOIN)

Those outside court waved an upside-down American flag and were joined by a horse named Lady Liberty.

They plan to march around the courthouse during the trial’s lunch breaks.

John Lamb drove from Bozeman, Montana, to take part in the protest.

He says the federal government has no more authority to manage ranching lands than he does to run the New York City subway.

When asked if they consider themselves protesters, event organizer John Lamb told KOIN 6 News, “I’m not really a protester. I’m standing up for people’s rights. All rights. … We’re for integrity. We want law. We just dont want the overreach of the federal government.”

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.

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