A woman was escorted down from the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday after she scaled the bottom part of the national monument in protest of U.S. immigration policy, sparking a nearly four-hour standoff with authorities.
The woman, identified as Therese Okoumou, appeared to be sitting near the feet of Lady Liberty — roughly 25 feet above the monument’s observation point. She was apprehended by police Wednesday, hours after she ascended the monument on Independence Day.
Video taken by news helicopters showed two New York Police Department officers, attached to tethers, climb up to the base around 6:15 p.m. — the time of the park’s closing — and apprehend the woman.
The park was shut down hours before closing time and was evacuated as a precaution, a National Park Service official told Fox News.
Brian Glacken, a detective with the NYPD Emergency Service Unit, said at a news conference late Wednesday that after receiving a call about the woman just after 3 p.m., officers made their way to the base of the statue, where the woman was located, and had a conversation with her.
“She was basically up there saying about the children in Texas. She just mentioned the kids in Texas,” Glacken said, confirming the woman was protesting the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
The detective said initially the woman “wasn’t friendly,” but eventually they developed “a rapport with her so she would trust us.”
At least 16 ESU personnel were involved in the rescue.
The woman had participated in an earlier protest Wednesday with New York-based activist group Rise and Resist, which organized the demonstration, which resulted in at least six arrests.
The group of roughly 40 demonstrators hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
The group initially tweeted that the climber had “no connection” to their demonstration, but group member Jay Walker later said she was involved but no one knew she planned to climb the Statue of Liberty.
“We don’t know whether she had this planned before she ever got to Liberty Island or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” Walker told The Associated Press. He said regardless, he felt the stunt was good publicity.
But National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said he “feel[s] really sorry for those visitors today” who had to leave the statue and Liberty Island or couldn’t come because it was evacuated. “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 Trump administration has been heavily criticized by those on both sides of the aisle after thousands of minors were separated from their families at the border after crossing it illegally. After national outrage, President Trump signed an executive order in late June allowing families to remain together in detention.
The Statue of Liberty was gifted to the U.S. by France in 1886. It became a welcoming symbol for immigrants and refugees coming to the U.S.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.