On Wednesday, one female protester who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest against U.S. immigration policy, forced thousands of visitors who wanted to visit the iconic statue on Liberty Island on July 4 to evacuate the island when she would not leave.
The woman was part of a group of roughly 40 protesters from the group Rise and Resist who were carrying a banner calling for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Therese Okoumou ignored police requests to come down for four hours before two officers climbed up to the base and took her to a ladder where she climbed down 25 feet to the monument’s observation point, where she was taken into custody.
Jay W. Walker, an organizer with Rise and Resist, said the group had no idea that Okoumou would make the climb, but claimed it would help the group’s cause, according to AP.
But Jerry Willis, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said, “I feel really sorry for those visitors today. … 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 New York Post reported of Okoumou:
According to court records, she’s a Congolese immigrant who 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 on Staten Island where she worked. Specifically, Okoumou claimed that in 2005 she was treated “in a demeaning manner” by her bosses and told that she would be fired “for complaining of discrimination.” It’s unclear why her complaint was tossed out