Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Statue Of Liberty Climber Unrepentant; POTUS Calls Her A ‘Clown’

Woman tries to climb Statue of Liberty in apparent protest of ICE A woman climbs the Statue of Liberty
Faye Gross | 06 July, 2018, 22:57

Okoumou pleaded not guilty to all three charges in federal court on Thursday and was released on her own recognizance.

"The person who climbed the Statue of Liberty was one of forty participants in our planned banner action, but her decision to climb the statue was made independently of the group, without consulting any other member of the group", they said in a statement.

This was in reference to the thousands of migrant children who have been separated and detained as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" border policy in recent months.

Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney in Manhattan, called the hours-long protest a "dangerous stunt" that endangered lives.

- Liberty Island, crowded with visitors on one of its busiest tourist days of the year, was evacuated.

"In a democracy we do not put children in cages", Okoumou told reporters. "I would've said 'let's get some nets, and let's wait until she comes down".

About 30 metres above ground, the climber engaged in a roughly four-hour standoff with police before two New York Police Department officers climbed up to the base and went over to her. Okoumou, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, refused to budge until "all the children are released".

The protesters were part of the activist group Rise and Resist.

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The love fest continued outside as Okoumou quoted former first lady Michelle Obama while wearing a T-shirt that read: "White Supremacy is Terrorism".

President Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Montana, called her a "clown". She thanked the U.S. Park Police, who she said treated her with respect and courtesy.

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

While she reportedly acted alone in the statue climb, the woman is affiliated with Rise and Resist, a group that had separately demonstrated at the statue on Wednesday.

The park service was reviewing security videotape to try to determine how the woman was able to make 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.

"That statue has been out in the middle of New York Harbor for 130 years - with hurricanes and lightning and everything that nature has thrown at her", he said.

A quote on the statue welcomes immigrants, reading: "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", and many believe Okoumou found that iconic structure as the ideal place to bring to the fore the plight of immigrant children being held away from their jailed parents.

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