Cowboy Express Startles D.C. Commuters

At the height of rush hour at Key Bridge and M Street, protestors on horseback from out West entered the nation’s capital Oct. 16 with a set of grievances against the Bureau of Land Management.

Their right to assembly and protest was assisted by the Metropolitan Police Department and other federal police agencies with Homeland Security as cop cars and motorcycles blocked intersections for the group of 20 riders, a wagon and their horse trailers. The spectacle briefly stopped traffic and turned heads. Commuters were first bemused but then smiled and waved at the ranchers.

Riding horseback from coast to coast, demonstrators from the Grass March and Cowboy Express made their way to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for ranchers’ grazing rights. Riders and horses left 4 a.m. this morning to finish the last leg of their journey.

The group left Bodega Bay, Calif., on Sept. 26, riding more than 2,800 miles by horseback in order to deliver petitions to Capitol Hill and hold rallies in various cities along the way.

The ride was sparked by Battle Mountain BLM Manager Douglas Furtado’s decision to remove grazing rights from Battle Mountain, District of Nevada. The main petition is calling for the removal of Furtado from his position, but there are a number of other petitions for different land and environmental issues. For example, half of the land in question is privately owned but is prohibited for use as part of the entire restricted area.

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