A protester lady identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou, a 44-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who climbed the Statue of Liberty’s base has been escorted down by police after a roughly four-hour standoff that forced the evacuation of Liberty Island on the Fourth of July.
She stayed for nearly three hours on the base of the statue before she was rescued and arrested.
She climbed down about 25 feet (8 meters) to the statue’s observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.
Earlier, several people on the statue’s pedestal hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and were arrested.
Authorities had tried to talk the woman down but she refused to leave. For nearly three hours, she crossed the base of the statue, at times sitting in the folds of the statue’s dress and under Lady Liberty’s sandal.
The woman was part of a group of protesters and had declared that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released,” a source with the New York Police Department told CNN.
The woman is affiliated with Rise and Resist, an organizer of the group, Martin Joseph Quinn, told CNN. But, Quinn said, her climb was not part of the planned protest. “She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action,” Quinn said
Earlier, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said at least six people were taken into custody for the banner, which read “Abolish I.C.E.,” referring to part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Sources revealed to NY Post that Okoumou told investigators that she climbed up to the feet of Lady Liberty to protest President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration and the separation of families at the border.
According to court records, she’s a Congolese immigrant who once filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, seeking a judicial review and reversal of a “determination” it made regarding alleged incidents of abuse that Okoumou suffered at the hands of a social services agency on Staten Island where she worked.
Okoumou is expected to appear in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday and may face misdemeanor charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and violating national park.