New York, US.- A woman protesting U.S. immigration policy climbed the Statue of Liberty’s base and forced the monument’s evacuation on the Fourth of July hours after several other demonstrators had hung a banner on the statue’s pedestal and had been arrested. About 100 feet (30 meters) aboveground, the climber engaged in a roughly four-hour standoff with police before two New York Police Department officers climbed up to the base and went over to her.
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 25 feet (8 meters) to the monument’s observation point and was taken into custody.
The woman had participated earlier in displaying a banner calling for abolishing the federal government’s chief immigration enforcement agency, said Jay W. Walker, a member of Rise and Resist, which organized the demonstration. The group initially tweeted that the climber had “no connection” to the demonstration. Walker later said she was involved but others had no idea she would make the climb, which wasn’t part of the planned protest.
He said he didn’t know her name. The climber ascended from the observation point, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said. Visitors were forced to leave Liberty Island hours before its normal 6:15 p.m. closing time, he said.
Earlier and farther below, at least six people were taken into custody after unfurling a banner that read “Abolish I.C.E.,” Willis said. The message referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE officers arrest and deport immigrants who are in the United States illegally, among other duties.