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Extra Police Presence in Montana for Waco, Oklahoma City Anniversaries

April 18, 1996

JORDAN, Mont. (AP) _ Authorities locked in a standoff with the Freemen brought in reinforcements Thursday in case of violence on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Waco disaster.

The move was prompted by concern that outside supporters of the Freemen _ about 18 of whom remained holed up at a farm _ would arrive and cause trouble, said Carol Hellyer, a Garfield County sheriff’s dispatcher.

Authorities would not disclose the number of extra officers brought in, but Hellyer said they included sheriff’s deputies from three other counties.

``There has been no specific incident ... just the concerns of local residents because of the anniversary,″ Hellyer said.

On April 19, 1993, 81 members of the Branch Davidian cult died in the fiery ruins of their compound near Waco, Texas, after federal agents moved to end a 51-day siege. On the same date last year, 168 people were killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

Some area residents planned to keep their children home from school on Friday, said the Rev. Helen Young, a pastor in Jordan.

The presence of supporters like Michigan militia leader Norman Olson ``just feeds the fear that somebody from the outside is going to cause problems,″ Young said.

There was little activity inside the compound Thursday, a day after five Freemen met for almost two hours with two negotiators. The talks, the first since four Montana legislators met with the anti-government Freemen on April 4 and 5, raised hopes that the standoff might be ending.

The FBI has isolated the farm since March 25, when agents captured two Freeman leaders and a follower. About 10 Freemen remaining inside face charges ranging from writing bad checks to threatening to kidnap and murder a federal judge.

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