- Associated Press - Thursday, April 10, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Tensions have escalated between protesters and federal police who used a stun gun on a son of a Nevada rancher fighting a roundup of cattle that he claims have historical grazing rights northeast of Las Vegas.

No serious injuries were reported and no arrests were made, but family members told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that rancher Cliven Bundy’s 57-year-old sister also was knocked to the ground during a confrontation Wednesday involving dozens of protesters and several U.S. Bureau of Land Management rangers.

The son, Ammon Bundy, told the Spectrum of St. George, Utah, (http://bit.ly/1euilKE ) that he was hit with stun charges twice.

He acknowledged that he climbed on a dump truck, suspecting that it contained cattle that had been killed during the roundup.

Amy Lueders, Nevada state BLM director, would not discuss details of the incident during a conference call with reporters late Thursday, saying only that it is under investigation.

“Public safety is key to this operation,” Lueders said, who described the episode as a “very isolated incident.”

The incident on State Route 170 followed the arrest Sunday of another Bundy son, Dave Bundy. He was released Monday with a citation accusing him of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

A video posted to the Internet showed protesters waving signs and shouting and law enforcement officers holding yellow stun guns with barking dogs straining at leashes near trucks involved in the roundup.

The BLM and the National Park Service have shut down an area half the size of Delaware while hired cowhands using helicopters and vehicles gather about 900 cattle that officials say are trespassing.

Bundy, whose Mormon family settled, farmed and ranched in Bunkerville since the 19th century, claims branded and feral animals on the range are his - and that he has the right to graze his cows on open range.

Lueders blamed Bundy for the events.

Mr. Bundy is breaking the law and has been breaking the law for the past 20 years,” she said.

“We are engaged in this because of a single individual … who has refused to abide by the law of the land,” Lueders said, adding that Bundy’s actions “do a disservice to the thousands of law abiding ranchers in the West.”

The showdown is seen as a flashpoint in a longstanding battle over state and federal land rights predating the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ‘80s.

The government says the cows are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise. They note that Bundy lost federal court cases challenging the roundup and that he was ordered by a federal judge last October not to interfere in any roundup.

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