Protester who climbed Statue of Liberty charged in federal court

Clay Curtis
July 7, 2018

Outside a Manhattan federal courthouse, where she pled not guilty to all charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing, Okoumou cited former first lady Michelle Obama in her remarks.

Therese Okoumou is surrounded by supporters as she leaves Federal court on July 5, 2018, in NY.

She now lives in Staten Island and has lived in NY for at least 10 years, the paper reports.

Okoumou was arrested and was expected in court on Thursday.

Although she received much scorn for causing a disruption during her high flying protest, Okoumou was not contrite.

Cruise operator Statue Cruises said it had to turn away more than 2,000 people waiting to take their tour to the famed statue.

Jay Walker, a member of the group, told reporters that she's been a part of the organization for about four or five months.

She allegedly refused to leave the building and police claim she flailed her arms and legs around while lying on the ground, striking an officer in the process.

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"Abolish ICE" has become a growing rallying cry among protestors and Democratic lawmakers around the country amid a national debate over President Donald Trump's immigration policies. "She would not come down by voice command", National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis told AFP.

"In a democracy, we do not put children in cages", she added.

'They protect us, and we protect them, ' Trump said of ICE agents. A poem on the statue welcomes immigrants, reading "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", and Therese found that to be the flawless place to highlight the plight of immigrant kids being held in detention centers away from their jailed parents.

There was confusion over whether she was part of a group who protested at the site against USA immigration policy.

"Our message was that ICE must be abolished, families must be reunited now, deportations must be halted, and the policy of detention as deterrent must end", New York-based advocacy group Rise and Resist said in a statement.

Protests and evacuations at the Statue of Liberty are rare but not unheard of.

With the dramatic scene unfolding on live television, she and the officers edged carefully around the rim of the statue's robes toward a ladder, and she climbed down about 8 metres to the monument's observation point and was taken into custody. "I don't think they have the right to co-opt the Statue of Liberty to do it", Willis said.

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