Statue of Liberty climber ID’d as activist protesting child separation at U.S.-Mexico border
Therese Okoumou has been identified as the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty in New York City on Independence Day.
She and approximately half a dozen protesters were arrested on Wednesday following an hours-long standoff with police.
Demonstrators had displayed a banner that called on the U.S. government to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
WATCH: A person tried to climb up the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, leading to the evacuation of Liberty Island.
Okoumou scaled the statue in protest of U.S. immigration policy that has seen children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, said a federal official.
She was engaged with a police in a standoff that lasted as long as four hours about 30 metres above the ground.
Live TV caught her and officers clambering carefully around the statue before she climbed down a ladder that took her about 25 feet down to the statue’s observation point.
There, she was taken into custody.
WATCH: NYPD says it developed rapport with Statue of Liberty climber before getting her down
Okoumou was one of about 40 demonstrators engaged in a protest where some unraveled a banner that said “Abolish I.C.E.,” said Jay Walker of Rise and Resist, the group that organized the demonstration.
Her climb wasn’t part of the protest they had planned, he said.
The protest forced the Statue of Liberty’s evacuation; and that had a National Park Service spokesman feeling sorry for people who didn’t have a chance to visit the monument.
“People have the right to speak out,” said Jerry Willis.
“I don’t think they have the right to co-opt the Statue of Liberty to do it.”
Okoumou had made her climb from the observation level.
Walker said the publicity around the climb would help Rise and Resist’s cause.
The Trump administration has taken a much-criticized approach to immigration at the U.S.’s southern border, requiring agents to arrest and prosecute people who are caught crossing illegally.
Over 2,000 children were separated from their parents in the spring under this policy before Trump halted it.
- With files from The Associated Press
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