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Police have apprehended a Black woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday to protest the separation of illegal immigrant families
According to CNN, the woman, later identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou, climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July. Her protest turned into a nearly three-hour standoff with police.
Here is everything we know:
— Oukoumou took part in an earlier protest with a group called Rise and Resist before she started climbing the statue. According to police, she told them she was protesting the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that, until recently, separated illegal immigrant children from their families.
— She declared that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released,” according to sources.
— Okoumou was seen at various points pacing back and forth on the base of the statue, lying down and then casually sitting down. NYPD’s highly trained emergency services and aviation units responded along with U.S. Park Police, and eventually, they were able to talk her down.
— Liberty Island, crowded with visitors on one of its busiest tourist days of the year, was evacuated.
Who Is She?
— According to the New York Post, Okoumou is a 44-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
— Known as an immigration activist, she once filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, seeking a judicial review and reversal of a “determination” it made regarding alleged incidents of abuse that Okoumou suffered at the hands of a social services agency.
— Rise and Resist, the organization with whom she had earlier protested with, initially distanced themselves from her:
“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. “We understand and share her desire to see the immediate release of children from detention and reunion with their parents. We hope that her legal representation will arrange for her release under her own recognizance.”
— After an outcry at their response, the group released another statement, calling Okoumou an “amazing woman” and offering to “find her the best legal representation that we could.“
— Officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit transported Okoumou to a federal detention center. Her case is being handled by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
— She will appear in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday. She is expected to be charged with national park regulations or public use limit; trespassing; disorderly conduct, and interfering with government functions. All are federal misdemeanors.
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