(AP) ---- Federal land managers confirmed they released all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.
The Bureau of Land Management took the action Saturday afternoon after hundreds of states' rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' return to rancher Cliven Bundy.
The bureau issued a brief statement saying the cattle were released "due to escalating tensions." Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally.
Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder says the showdown was resolved with no injuries and no violence. He says Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy.
The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy. The bureau revoked Bundy's grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals. The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region.