A woman who climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families was taken into custody after a standoff with police on the Fourth of July.
Authorities had tried to talk the woman down but she refused to leave. For nearly two 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.
Finally, officers with ropes and climbing gear reached her. They put a harness and ropes on her to bring her down, and she crossed to the other side of the statue with the officers where a ladder was propped up on the base of the statue.
The woman, identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou by a law enforcement source close to the investigation, 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 reporters.
She is affiliated with Rise and Resist, an organizer of the group, Martin Joseph Quinn, told media. 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.
National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said the woman was in federal custody Wednesday evening and will be transported to a US Marshals office in Manhattan.
Park police have recommended charges to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Willis added. Possible charges include trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.
Earlier, other protesters unfurled a banner over a railing around the base of the statue saying “Abolish ICE!” At least seven people were arrested on Liberty Island and the site was closed to visitors.