A convoy of more than a dozen pickup trucks carrying armed men arrived at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Saturday. Some of the men told journalists they were there to help with security for the group that has occupied the headquarters of the refuge since Jan. 2. The men said they were members of the Pacific Patriot Network, a consortium of groups from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, the Oregonian reports. They were carrying rifles and handguns and dressed in military attire and bulletproof vests. Their leader, Brandon Curtiss, said the group came to "de-escalate" the situation by providing security for those inside and outside the compound.
One of the original occupiers of the refuge, LaVoy Finicum, said the group appreciates the Pacific Patriot Network's help, but "we want the long guns put away." Curtiss said he intends to meet with standoff organizers as well as local public officials and law enforcement to come to a "peaceful resolution." "We are not the militia, and we are not a militia," he said, adding that "they're here for everybody's safety, on both sides." The leader of the standoff group—Ammon Bundy—has repeatedly rejected calls to leave buildings at the refuge despite pleas from the county sheriff, from many local residents, and from Oregon's governor, among others. (Read more Oregon stories.)