Armed protestors have taken over a government building in Oregon and many people are using #YallQaeda to mock the government for its slow response.
Armed anti-government protestors, mainly white, took control of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southern Oregon. The protestors have taken control of the government building to protest land disputes with the government and also the jail sentences of two men, Dwight and Steven Hammond, who set federal land ablaze.
Prosecutors claim that the Hammonds burned around 130 acres of government land in 2001 to cover up poaching. However, the Hammonds say that they set the fire to reduce invasive plant growth and protect their property from wildfires.
The militia group seized the building on Saturday, Jan. 2 and Ammon Bundy, one of the armed men, told CNN that they will defend themselves if force is used by the government. However, Bundy also added that the militia group was not comprised of terrorists.
Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward warns that the militia group's intent was nothing less than overthrowing the government. Many people from other regions have also joined the protest.
"These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States," says Ward.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has also confirmed that the state, local and federal authorities are also monitoring the situations in Oregon.
Debates have also began online - some people are backing the Oregon protest while others are against the militia group. Twitter users are also voicing their opinions about the incident on #YallQaeda, which sounds similar to the terrorist group Al Qaeda.
Since 2011, #YallQaeda has been used for referring various anti-government protest groups and now Twitter users have used the hashtag more than 35,000 times
"#YallQaeda waging #YeeHawd on America and we're still calling it a 'peaceful protest,'" commented a user on #YallQaeda. "It's domestic terrorism and we need to shut it down."
"Whoever coined #YallQaeda for the Oregon militia can just take the rest of the week off," tweeted another user on #YallQaeda.
While some Twitter users mocked the militia group for forcefully capturing the federal building some people were in defense of the incident, comparing it to other incidents in the country.
"Every successful revolution starts with takeover of closed visitor center with gift shop," tweeted another user.
"Justified or not, it's a protest against government abuse of power. If Oregon is terrorism, then so is #BlackLivesMatter," said another Twitter user.
Some people believe that the government is slow to respond because the protestors are primarily white. Elon James White, a journalist and CEO of This Week In Blackness, started another hashtag - #OregonUnderAttack. White argues that people can perceive an incident differently based on the race of the people involved in it.
It remains to seen how swiftly the authorities are able to take control of the Oregon standoff.
Photo: Julian Carvajal | Flickr