Statue of Liberty base climber identified

NEW YORK (AP) —  A federal official says a woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty’s base and spurred the statue’s evacuation on July Fourth told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The official identifies the woman as Therese Okoumou. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss it and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A message left at a possible phone number for the woman hasn’t been returned. A group that organized a protest at the statue earlier Wednesday says she took part in unfurling a banner at the statue’s pedestal calling for abolishing the federal government’s chief immigration enforcement agency. But the group says no one else was aware she would climb the base. At least six people were arrested in the banner demonstration.

A protester who climbed the Statue of Liberty’s base has been escorted down by police after a roughly four-hour standoff that forced the evacuation of Liberty Island on the Fourth of July.

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. She climbed down about 25 feet (8 meters) to the statue’s observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.

Earlier, several people on the statue’s pedestal hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and were arrested. The protest group, Rise and Resist, earlier said the climb wasn’t connected to the banner demonstration. The group now says the climber was involved in the demonstration but the climb wasn’t part of the plan.

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