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I-15 closed as Bundy backers seek to free cattle

(Vicki Gonzalez / KSNV News 3)
(Vicki Gonzalez / KSNV News 3)
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Updated: 4/12/2014 3:16 pm
MESQUITE (KSNV -- Interstate 15 has been partially closed in both directions near Mesquite as law enforcement agencies try to keep a growing crowd of Cliven Bundy supporters from freeing nearly 400 head of cattle that have been rounded up in the past week.

Southbound lanes were closed briefly at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, joining the northbound lanes that were closed shortly after 11 a.m.

"We are trying to keep the peace about 7 miles south of Mesquite and some in the crowd of Bundy supporters are armed," Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson told News 3 at 12:30 p.m.

Several callers told News 3 said they were Bundy supporters and they were going to free the cattle that the Bureau of Land Management rounded up over the past week.

The cattle were driven through the Virgin River wetlands to a compound just on the north side of Interstate 15 about 7 miles west of Mesquite. Bundy supporters were headed to that area after leaving the protest encampment near the Bundy ranch further south on the Virgin River near Bunkerville.

As they stood on a hill overlooking Interstate 15, two armed protesters told News 3 that they were there to protect the Constitution.

About 2 p.m. there was a report that some 25 BLM Rangers were trapped in the Holiday Inn Express by members of a militia who were using their trucks to block the motel.  A caller said it was the second time it had happened this week.

Law enforcement agencies were heading to the motel shortly afterward, based on police radio calls.

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