TIME 2016 Election

Republican Presidential Candidates Respond to Oregon Standoff

ROB KERR—AFP/Getty Images A vehicle occupied by members of a small militia group enter the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week.

Cruz calls for the armed protestors to "stand down," while Rubio says they are "lawless."

Republican presidential candidates responded Monday to a group of armed protestors in Oregon who took over a federal building over the weekend.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were the first from the GOP field to address the armed standoff between militia members and law enforcement after the group occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. Rubio called their actions “lawless” and Cruz called for the group to “stand down.”

“Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds,” Texas Sen. Cruz told reporters in Iowa. “But we don’t have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence against others. So it is our hope that the protesters there will stand down peaceably, that there will not be a violent confrontation.”

For his part, Rubio echoed the call for a peaceful solution, adding that while he may agree with the protestors in some capacity there are other ways, in America, to get your point across.

“And I agree that there is too much federal control over land especially out in the western part of the United States,” the Florida Sen. said Monday morning on Iowa radio station KBUR. “There are states for example like Nevada that are dominated by the federal government in terms of land holding and we should fix it, but no one should be doing it in a way that’s outside the law. We are a nation laws, we should follow those laws and they should be respected.”

Read More: Oregon Town Watches Warily as Armed Protesters Take Over Refuge

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