Liberty Island was evacuated Wednesday as a woman was arrested for trying to scale the iconic Statue of Liberty to protest President Trump.
The woman, who appeared to be black and could be seen holding up a T-shirt displaying the words “Rise and Resist” and “Trump Care Makes Us Sick,” was able to scale the base of the statue.
The Associated Press said Thursday that an official identified her as Therese Okoumou. A message left at a possible phone number for her hasn’t been returned, the wire service reported.
She was arrested by two rappelling police officers about 100 feet off the ground after a 4-hour standoff shown on live TV on America’s Independence Day.
The whole island was evacuated as a precaution by the National Park Service, which runs the monument.
“I feel really sorry for those visitors today” who had to leave or weren’t let in, said Jerry Willis, a Service spokesman. “People have the right to speak out. I don’t think they have the right to co-opt the Statue of Liberty to do it.”
The Park Police already had arrested at least six members of a “Resistance” group for unfurling a banner at the park saying “Abolish I.C.E.”
The group Rise and Resist NYC said on Facebook that it demanded the immediate closure of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, increasingly a common demand among Democrats, and that the administration “reunite families, halt deportations and end detention as a deterrent.”
Jay W. Walker, an organizer with Rise and Resist, confirmed that the woman who climbed up the statue was part of the earlier demonstration.
The “direct action” group had falsely claimed earlier on Twitter that their banner unfurling “did not include the climber on the statue” and that she had “no connection” to the group.
Mr. Walker later said that while she was involved, he didn’t know the woman’s name and that climbing the statue was not in the group’s plans.
“We don’t know whether she had this planned before she ever got to Liberty Island or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” he told reporters Wednesday evening.
U.S. National Parks Service spokesman Jerry Willis said that Ms. Okoumou’s acts were a threat to the iconic statue.
“She was on the copper of a national icon,” he said, adding that the copper is thin. “She could do some damage.”