What do you think will be the final fate of these protesters?
They implored the last holdout in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge here to think about the Holy Spirit. They explained that the First Amendment was about freedom of speech and the Second was about the right to bear arms, and said that they were in that order for a reason. They asked him what he thought Jesus would have done in his situation.
He, in turn, asked for pizza and marijuana, criticized a government that condoned abortion and drone strikes, and talked about U.F.O.s and dying rather than going to prison.
In the final moments, a standoff fed by big ideas about the role of government came down Thursday morning to the grievances and fears of one troubled young man, and the tense but successful efforts of his sympathizers and F.B.I. agents to coax him to surrender, ending the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon.
“I’m actually feeling suicidal right now,” said David Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio, the last of the remaining protesters to leave the wildlife sanctuary, during telephone negotiations over his surrender. “I will not go another day as a slave to this system. I’m a free man. I will die a free man.”
In an extraordinary conclusion to the 40-day occupation, the four final holdouts, in a conversation streamed live online to tens of thousands of listeners, spoke with supporters trying to persuade them to give up, including Gavin Seim and KrisAnne Hall, both antigovernment activists; Michele Fiore, a Republican state legislator from Nevada; and the Rev. Franklin Graham, the evangelist. Three of the occupiers emerged in quick succession, hands raised in surrender, but Mr. Fry at first refused.
For the next hour and a quarter, sitting alone in a tent, hugging a blanket, he veered between resignation and agitation, rambling across a wide range of issues and conspiracy theories, as the audience listening on the live stream, operated by Mr. Seim, climbed as high as 30,000. Mr. Fry said that bankers caused wars, and that the government suppressed breakthrough inventions and was “chemically castrating everybody,” and occasionally he could be heard talking on another phone with the F.B.I.
Then, suddenly, it was over. “One more cookie, one more cigarette,” he said, just before leaving his hide-out. “Alrighty then.”
With the end of the standoff — which left one protester dead and 25 others indicted — the movement behind the occupation moved to a new phase. Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the brothers who spearheaded the occupation and now sit in a Portland jail, have vowed to escalate their fight, using the court as a platform.
“Now we go from the refuge to our next battleground, which is the court system and legislation,” Ms. Fiore told reporters. She and Mr. Graham accompanied F.B.I. agents to the refuge Thursday, reassuring the holdouts as they gave themselves up, and she said she hugged each of them and the F.B.I. negotiators.
Read more: NY Times