On April 12, 2014, protesters, some on horses, gather at a pen where cattle seized by the BLM were being held. Traffic on the bridge above is stopped. (FOX5)
BUNKERVILLE, NV (FOX5) -
The cows are back at the ranch and the dust from the standoff has settled, but rancher Cliven Bundy's battle may be far from over.
The Bureau of Land Management stood down this past weekend, citing safety concerns. The agency had been rounding up Bundy's cattle from public lands in Bunkerville. They claim Bundy hasn't paid grazing fees in 20 years.
Bundy claims his family has used the land for more than 100 years, and he owes nothing to the BLM.
The standoff that ensued could have escalated. Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie got involved, and the cattle were returned to Bundy. Still, the BLM said it will continue to pursue the matter in court.
FOX5 legal analyst Bob Massi said that, depending on how things are handled, we could see another standoff northeast of Las Vegas.
"They have to come up with a decision that's not going to result in what we just saw," Massi said. "[The] same thing could happen all over again."
Massi watched the standoff unfold for three days in Bunkerville.
"I know for a fact that one of the guys, Dave, he was taking pictures, and you know, they came at him. I mean, this is America. You should be able to take pictures. The underlying thing they [protesters] believe is this is another way of chipping away at fundamental rights in this country," Massi said.
Massi was awed by the amount of support and national attention the standoff received.
"Even though it's not there every day, we just saw it demonstrated - right, wrong or indifferent, we just saw the power of the people last week," Massi said.
Massi did point out that a federal judge gave Bundy 45 days to remove his cattle from the property.
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