Statue of Liberty climber pleads not guilty after immigration protest

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WATCH LIVE: Woman climbs base of Statue of Liberty in New York
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06 July, 2018

She engaged in a four-hour standoff with authorities on Liberty Island before two NYPD officers climbed up to the base and forced her towards a ladder.

At one point, she told authorities that she would only come down when parents are reunited with all migrant children separated due to a Trump administration policy that was reversed last month in response to domestic and global outrage.

On Wednesday, Okoumou climbed the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and began a three-hour standoff that led to the evacuation of the landmark on the Fourth of July holiday, celebrating USA independence.

The Rise and Resist protesters acknowledged that the woman who climbed the statue participated in the unfurling of the banner but that her later actions were not part of their protest.

Activists packed into a Manhattan courtroom cheered when a federal magistrate judge released Therese Okoumou without bail after she had spent the night behind bars.

As The New York Daily News reports, Okoumou works as a personal trainer by profession, according to a 2009 Staten Island Advance article.

Okoumo, a naturalized US citizen originally from the Republic of Congo, pled not guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and interference with government function.

U.S. Park Police Major Pamela Smith said the incident "caused disruption to thousands of visitors on one of the busiest days of the year at the Statue of Liberty". "Trump has ripped this country apart".

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"His (President Donald Trump) draconian zero-tolerance policy on immigration has to go", Okoumou said. "I wouldn't have done it", said the President, "I would have said, 'Let's get some nets, and let's wait till she comes down".

'Michelle Obama says when they go low, we go high, and I went as high as I could'. "No children belong in a cage".

She eventually agreed to cooperate with the police and was arrested once she was back on the ground.

Average attendance to the island on the Fourth of July is usually around 20,000 to 25,000 people, agency spokesperson Jerry Willis said.

The park service was reviewing security videotape to try to determine how the woman made the climb, Willis said.

Cruise operator Statue Cruises said it had to turn away more than 2,000 people waiting to take their tour to the famed statue. The replica "brought a new face to the iconic statue-a face which audiences found appeared more "fresh-faced, ' "sultry" and even 'sexier" than the original located in NY", the suit said.

Each count carries has a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.

Asked about it herself, Okoumou smiled and responded: "I did a pull-up".


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