A group of people associated with what local media call “a splinter group of militia” have occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.
The group, which claims to be about 150 people, is supporting two ranchers facing jail time for arson.
Ammon Bundy, the son of a rancher previously involved in conflict with the government over grazing rights, has become the face of the incident.
He took to Facebook asking militia members to come and help in the occupation.
Members of the group have also allegedly claimed he is willing to fight to defend the occupied building.
Authorities have asked locals to steer clear of the area, and as of yet there have been no confrontations.
CBS reports that the FBI is flying in today to take the lead in handling the situation, and that the occupiers are armed.
Terrorism and race
But while police and federal authorities take a lower key, non-confrontational approach to the occupation, social media has been flaring with accusations of hypocrisy under the hashtag #OregonUnderAttack.
Many are linking the situation to the string of police-involved killings of black men and women, many of whom were unarmed. The case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was shot dead for holding a toy gun has loomed particularly large.
Others are comparing the situation to the way the U.S. handles terrorism. Some have noted that if armed Muslims occupied a federal building the response would be instant, while others are questioning why the militiamen’s religion hasn’t been mentioned.