Statue of Liberty climber pleads not guilty after immigration protest

06 July, 2018, 22:59 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Woman tries to climb Statue of Liberty in apparent protest of ICE

Civil rights activist Theresa Patricia Okoumou became a hero to many after she scaled the Statue of Liberty on Fourth of July, without any climbing gear, to protest President Donald Trump and his administration's brutal policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the USA border.

A federal official said the woman told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S. -Mexico border illegally.

She, however, chose to climb the foot of the Statue and declared that she would not come down until all the children were released. "I'm really sad for people who had to leave the island or who weren't able to get over here at all".

Therese Patricia Okoumou, 45, of Staten Island, was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and interference with governmental administration, the Wall Street Journal reported.

But outside court, Okoumou refused to answer questions about what she has to say to the thousands of visitors to the statue, whose 4th of July plans were upended by her actions.

- Okoumou was seen at various points pacing back and forth on the base of the statue, lying down and then casually sitting down. In a democracy, we do not put children in cages. With her lawyer Rhiya Trivedi, Okoumou spoke outside a NY courthouse about her status as a naturalized United States citizen from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the goals of her protest.


Trump said during a Montana campaign rally she should have been left alone until she made a decision to come down on her own.

"Michele Obama, our beloved first lady that I care so much about, said when they go low, we go high".

The Statue of Liberty opened for visitors again on Thursday, noting July 5 was traditionally the busiest day of the year to visit the monument.

Television footage on Wednesday showed two officers, outfitted in harnesses and ropes, slowly approaching a woman and grabbing her as she clung to the sloping side of the more-than-300-foot-high (91 meter) statue, moments after she tried unsuccessfully to scale Lady Liberty's robes.

Okoumou was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate for an arraignment hearing, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Manhattan said. But her climb was not part of the planned protest and was done without the group's knowledge, Quinn said. Last week, Judge Eric Bruggink of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in Davidson's favor, awarding him $3.5 million in damages.

Okoumou, of Staten Island, was born and educated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but she has lived in NY for at least 10 years now, records have indicated.

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