Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Woman climbs onto Statue of Liberty

Woman climbs onto Statue of Liberty

Tourists have been evacuated from Liberty Island in NY after a woman climbed up on to the Statue of Liberty and sat at the monument's base.

ICE, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is at the center of the Trump administration's shelved policy of separating some immigrant families at the U.S.

About 4,500 tourists were forced off the island when officials closed it, according to The New York Times, which said more than 20,000 tourists visit the Statue of Liberty every Fourth of July.

About 100 feet (30 meters) aboveground, the climber alternately sat and lay by the bottom edge of the statue's robes for more than two hours on Wednesday, news helicopter video showed. She climbed down about 25 feet to the statue's observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.

Activists with the group Rise and Resist say they hung the banner to protest United States immigration policy. Rise and Resist is the name of a protest group that arranged the banner display, and they tweeted that the climber "has no connection to our #abolishice action earlier today". According to CNN, Park police have recommended charges to the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY, including trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.

Local media first reported that demonstrators opposed to President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance with illegal immigration protested there and that the woman was among the demonstrators.

About 16 officers with the New York City Police Department took part in the risky rescue/apprehension effort, Officer Brian Glacken said in a news conference Wednesday evening. The group now says the climber was involved in the demonstration but the climb wasn't part of the plan.

Okoumou allegedly "staged a risky stunt that alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the (New York Police Department) officers who responded to the scene", U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

Under public pressure, Trump later halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents. They were holding off a banner that stated "Abolish ICE". But the group says no one else was aware she would climb the base. Earlier, seven protesters were arrested on the island, he said without providing further details. The protesters who were with her, and standing on the balcony underneath the statue, also rolled out a banner.

The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and was designated a national monument in 1924. The banner read "Abolish ICE", a reference to the federal law enforcement agency that handles deportations.

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