A woman who climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty in a protest over the separation of migrant families was taken into custody after a standoff with police on the Fourth of July.
Authorities had tried to talk the woman down but she refused to leave. For nearly two hours, she crossed the base of the statue, at times sitting in the folds of the statue’s dress and under Lady Liberty’s sandal. Finally, officers with ropes and climbing gear reached her. They put a harness and ropes on her to bring her down, and she crossed to the other side of the statue with the officers where a ladder was propped up on the base of the statue.
The woman was part of a group of protesters and had declared that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released,” a source with the New York Police Department told CNN.
The woman, who was not identified, is affiliated with Rise and Resist, an organizer of the group, Martin Joseph Quinn, told CNN. But, Quinn said, her climb was not part of the planned protest. “She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action. We are deeply concerned for her safety,” Quinn said.
Earlier, other protesters unfurled a banner over a railing around the base of the statue saying “Abolish ICE!” At least seven people were arrested on Liberty Island and the site was closed to visitors.
Jay W. Walker, an organizer and board member of Rise and Resist, told CNN the theme of the protest was that Lady Liberty is weeping over the unconstitutional excesses of ICE under the Trump administration.
“.We thought we wanted to do something on our Independence Day, a day that obviously is meant for reflection on the ideals on which this nation was founded. This country has posited itself as a beacon. Right now, we have a government that is actively turning its back on those ideals,” Walker said.
At one point, the woman walked back and forth under Lady Liberty’s sandal and then sat down and appeared to unfurl a small flag or banner.
The NYPD had built a rope rescue system to help bring the woman down from the base, because officers didn’t believe she would come down on her own, a police source told CNN.
Liberty Island has been evacuated while they attempt to get her down, according to Jerry Willis with the National Park Service.
The NYPD says three of its emergency service units and a harbor unit are on scene.
By Brynn Gingras and Sonia Moghe, CNN