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Rally Honors Anti-Federal Activists, Denounces Agencies

Critics of federal government gathered Saturday at the state Capitol. Like other rallies around the West, theirs was a show of support for the Oregon wildlife occupiers and anti-federal activists who remain in jail.

Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum was also known as “Tarp Man.” Many of the 200 people who attended the rally wore small patches of blue tarp to honor the man they now see as a martyr. Finicum’s widow, Jeanette, spoke publicly for the first time since her husband was killed in January at a police roadblock in Oregon.

“Let us fight back this tyranny,” she said. “Let us not let LaVoy’s murder be in vain.”

Speakers praised ranchers, freedom and the Constitution. But they condemned government agencies for violating what the protesters see as their constitutional rights.

The crowd heard from the daughter-in-law of Cliven Bundy, whose Nevada ranch was the scene of an armed standoff with federal agents two years ago. The FBI arrested her husband in central Utah on Thursday in what some speakers called an FBI roundup of anyone speaking out against government overreach.

Finiucm’s daughter, Thara Tenney, vowed to keep speaking up anyhow.

“In regards to those being unlawfully detained, incarcerated and held in solitary confinement, for defending their life, liberty and property,” she said, “we the people demand their release.”

A small group of public lands activists faced the crowd holding posters that referred to the recent criminal indictments of 19 anti-federal sympathizers. The opposing groups had protested peacefully side-by-side when the rally ended after three hours. 

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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