NYPD safely removes protester who climbed Statue of Liberty

A woman who had climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty in a protest over the separation of migrant families on the border 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 in preparation for bringing her down.

Television images showed two helmeted officers, outfitted in harnesses and ropes, slowly approaching the woman and grabbing her as she clung to the sloping side of the giant statue near its upturned right foot. Minutes before, she had removed her pink athletic shoes and attempted unsuccessfully to scale Lady Liberty’s green-tarnished robes as the dark waters of the Hudson River swirled below.

“She’s been taken into custody amicably, peacefully without any injuries, or injuries to our officers, thank God. It’s all over now.” Sgt. David Somma, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told Reuters after the three-hour standoff ended. He said prosecutors would determine any charges filed against the woman.

The incident forced the park service to evacuate Liberty Island on a sweltering holiday afternoon when typically thousands of tourists visit the historic statue, a symbol of American freedom that has stood in the harbour since 1886.

Seven protesters were arrested on the island earlier Wednesday. The woman, who was part of a group of protesters, had declared that she would not come down until “all the children are released,” a source with the New York Police Department said.

The woman is affiliated with Rise and Resist, an organizer of the group, Martin Joseph Quinn, said. 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!”

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