Woman Climbs the Statue of Liberty Prompting Mass Evacuation During Fourth of July Celebrations
Police had their hands full on Wednesday after a woman began to climb the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families
Police had their hands full on Wednesday after a woman climbed up the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families.
The incident occurred on the Fourth of July in which several protestors were arrested after bringing a sign that read “ABOLISH I.C.E.,” according to TIME magazine.
The woman, identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou, began climbing the statue and was caught on camera as U.S. Park police and the New York Police Department tried to coax her off the statue, according to CNN.
Liberty Island was evacuated with 3,000 to 4,000 visitors forced off the island and onto ferries.
Jerry Willis, a National Park Service spokesman, told the magazine the event was “very unusual in recent history — I can tell you that.”
The woman, who remains unidentified, was arrested by police after she refused to be talked down, according to CNN.
She was there for almost two hours, sitting in the folds of the statue’s dress and under her sandal. Police officers were forced to climb the statue with ropes and climbing gear in order to reach her, the outlet reported.
She allegedly told police she wouldn’t come down until “all the children were released,” according to CNN.
An organizer for Rise and Resist, Martin Joseph Quinn, told the outlet the woman had been protesting with them but that scaling the statue was not planned.
“She climbed without our knowledge,” he said. “It was not part of our action. We are deeply concerned for her safety.”
Rise and Resist is “a direct action group committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality and our civil liberties,” according to their website.
On Twitter, the organization wrote, “Rise and Resist planned a banner drop today at the Statue of Liberty. This action did not include the climber on the statue. Our action was completed earlier. While it was not part of our action, our first priority and concern is for the safety of the climber.”
Thousands of migrant children have been separated from their parents while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In June, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reversing his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents when they illegally cross the border. This decision came weeks after he said only Democrats could fix the migrant-child crisis.
“We are keeping families together,” Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. “This will solve that problem. At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people who enter our country illegally.”