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Bridging The Gap
Statue of Liberty protester is immigrant active in resisting Trump policy
  Thursday 05 July, 2018
Statue of Liberty protester is immigrant active in resisting Trump policy

A woman arrested after scaling lower parts of the Statue of Liberty in a dramatic July 4th protest is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who has been active in the resistance movement against Trump administration immigration policies, according to media reports.

A federal official identified her as Therese Okoumou. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Okoumou had hoisted herself up the robes of the statue to protest the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, she told police.

The activist, identified by The Daily News as a personal trainer by profession, was arrested and charged with federal trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges.

Okoumou, 44, of Staten Island, has lived in New York for at least the last 10 years, The Daily News reports, citing official records.

She recently joined the protest group Rise and Resist, which earlier Wednesday had unfurled an "Abolish ICE" banner at the base of the statue, targeting the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

ICE, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has been the key agency in the arrest and deportation of unauthorized immigrants inside the U.S.

Seven members of Rise and Resist were charged earlier Wednesday with violating federal laws against hanging banners from the monument, Jerry Willis, a spokesman with the National Park Service, told USA TODAY.

Jay Walker, one member of Rise and Resist, tells The Daily News that climbing the statue was not part of the group's protest plan and that Okoumou apparently decided to do that on her own.

The New York-based group opposes President Donald Trump’s administration and advocates ending deportations and family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.

New York cops with ropes and ladders scaled up a portion of the statue to coax her down on live TV. She can been seen traversing the base of the statue and sitting in the folds of the statue's dress and under Lady Liberty's sandal.

Willis said the national monument was closed out of "an abundance of caution" following both incidents. Tourists were loaded on boats off the island and no new boats headed for the island, he said.

In February 2017, someone hung a banner reading “Refugees Welcome” from the observation deck. The sign was taken down about an hour after being discovered.

A year earlier, a West Virginia man with psychological problems was sentenced to time served after calling in a bomb threat. His call forced the evacuation of Liberty Island, sending 3,200 people on boats back to Lower Manhattan and New Jersey.

The statue, a gift from France, was dedicated in 1886. It became a welcoming symbol for immigrants and refugees coming to the U.S.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/07/05/statue-liberty-protester-immigrant-active-resisting-trump-policy/758824002/

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