Protester climbs Statue of Liberty base, forcing evacuation

A protestor sits at the feet of the Statue of Liberty

A protester has scaled the Statue of Liberty after a banner reading "Abolish ICE" was unfurled at its base Wednesday afternoon, and police have climbed the statue to try to coax the woman down.

After two New York Police Department officers went up to the base and reached her, news helicopter video showed her and the officers moving carefully along the edge of the statue's robes toward a ladder police had set up.

National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis confirmed the protesters were taken into custody after breaking federal regulations prohibiting hanging banners from the monument.

The group behind the banner, Rise and Resist, said the climber wasn't connected to the earlier demonstration. The woman, who was alone, has given "no indication" of why she was climbing the statue, Somma said.

Sources said that Okoumou told investigators that she climbed up to the feet of Lady Liberty to protest President Trump's zero-tolerance policy on immigration and the separation of families at the border.

NY police said they were assisting US Park Police to remove the woman from the monument.

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The "Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was a gift of friendship from the people of Franche to the United States and is recognized as "a universal symbol of freedom and democracy", according to the National Park Service. At least seven people were arrested on Liberty Island and the site was closed to visitors.

'Dozens of tourists cheered on the activists, and the protest was broadcast via live stream over social media, ' they said. She has been placed in police custody.

The woman reportedly climbed the Statue of Liberty after attending a protest near the statue earlier on Wednesday.

"She did not discuss it with anybody beforehand, and we were completely unaware", said Guadino. "While it was not part of our action, our first priority and concern is for the safety of the climber".

That group of six people has been arrested.

The Fourth of July is normally one of their busiest days of the year and they typically see 22,000 visitors on summer days, says Abreu.

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