Update: July 5, 2018, 4:51 p.m. EDT
Per AM New York, Therese Patricia Okoumou was charged with three misdemeanors: trespassing, interfering with agency functions and disorderly conduct. She pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. She is scheduled to reappear before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on August 3.
U.S. Park Police evacuated thousands of people from the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday (July 4) after a woman scaled the base of the statue to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
The woman, identified in several reports as Therese Patricia Okoumou, is an immigrant and native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is a member of advocacy group Rise and Resist, which earlier on Wednesday unfurled an “Abolish ICE” banner at the statue, in reference to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE). That protest led to six arrests.
Okoumou, wearing a Rise and Resist T-shirt, told police that she would come down from the statue only after Trump administration officials released all detained migrant children.
“She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas,” NYPD Officer Brian Glacken, who took part in the arrest, told New York magazine. “I guess the whole debate that’s going on about that.”
After a nearly four-hour standoff, police removed Okoumou from the statue. She reportedly faces several federal charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct.
“Protesting at the Statue of Liberty demanding an end to state violence and the inhumane detention of children seems a fitting way to spend a holiday that’s purportedly about celebrating the end of tyranny,” tweeted Bree Newsome, an activist who was arrested in 2015 for removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina House of Representatives. “Happy July 4th to #TheresePatriciaOkoumou.”
Rise and Resist said that Okoumou’s actions were not part of the group’s protest, but in a statement released late Wednesday the group dispelled notions that it was distancing itself from Okoumou.
“From the moment that we realized that this amazing woman whom we have gotten to know, love and respect was the person who had climbed to the foot of Lady Liberty, we had three concerns: one for her safety from falling, second, for her safety as a woman of color who was about to be engaged by law enforcement, and third, to find her the best legal representation that we could,” the group said.
The immigration protests at Lady Liberty on Independence Day were echoed in other cities. In San Francisco, dozens of protestors held a “Block ICE” block party in the city’s financial district, in front of the ICE building.
In Philadelphia, 29 people were arrested after they blocked the garage doors of the city’s ICE building and refused to allow anyone to enter or leave.