Liberty Island evacuated: Woman climbs Statue of Liberty as protesters are apprehended for 'abolish ICE' banner
New York Police Department officials said the woman appeared to be part of the group of protesters arrested on Ellis Island, but the group denied knowing her at all.
A woman wearing a "Rise and Resist" t-shirt climbed State of Liberty's base on Wednesday, nearly an hour after a group of protesters were apprehended for brandishing an "Abolish ICE" banner on Ellis Island, according to reports. Officials were also reportedly ordered to evacuate Liberty Island after the incident. New York Police Department (NYPD) officials said the woman appeared to be part of the group of protesters arrested on Ellis Island. However, the organizers of the demonstration claimed she was not with them.
Shortly after the woman scaled the monument's base, NYPD aviation teams were dispatched to Liberty Island after receiving reports about the climber. The woman appeared to be dressed in all black, with pink sneakers. The activist organization which planned the demonstration, Rise and Resist NYC, on Wednesday tweeted: "The climber on the Statue of Liberty has no connection to our #abolishice action earlier today."
Reports state that the group had announced the demonstration details on social media moments before carrying it out on Wednesday at the Statue of Liberty. The group was protesting President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy which separates children from their parents at the United States-Mexico border.
"Rise and Resist is at the Statue of Liberty demanding Trump and the GOP #AbolishICE, reunite families now, halt deportations, and end detention as a deterrent," the group wrote on Twitter. "We will fight every day until we end our brutal racist immigration policy."
The separation of families at the United States-Mexico border has come under severe scrutiny by activists, lawmakers and human rights organization across the world. The family separation policy was announced in May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Under the policy, Trump administration has been separating children from their parents or families, who had been illegally entering the country. The children are then handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services for reallocation.
Reports state that at least 10 people were arrested for the banner demonstration. However, the focus of the spectators was on the woman scaling the monument.
One visitor tweeted: "There’s a woman climbing the Statue of Liberty behind me! Happy 4th!"
While another Twitter user said: "A woman is climbing the Statue of Liberty and people are being evacuated from the island. Either that, or I was reading the plot of a Marvel superhero movie when I thought I was reading the news.”
Multiple pictures of police officers attempting to reason with the woman at the base of the monument were posted on Twitter.
"I applaud the woman that climbed the Statue of Liberty," wrote one Twitter user. "I can’t imagine how hard that was. I get winded after climbing the stairs at my house." Reports state that the United States Park Police was working with the NYPD aviation teams to get the woman down safely. Officials were also impressed by how far the woman made it, however, they were not taking the incident lightly, according to the New York Post.
National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said: "The facade of the monument there is a granite rock-like surface that the average person wouldn’t be able to scale. But somebody with some climbing skills would be able to pull it off,” he told The Post. "An extremely dangerous stunt to pull."
Willis also added that it was unfortunate that the visitors to who specifically traveled to NYC to see Lady Liberty on 4th of July could not visit the monument.
"I think it’s very unfortunate," he said. "We have people from all over the world who visit us. For many of them, it’s a once in a lifetime trip… People are moved when they get here. So to have their visit cut short or denied is extremely unfortunate. I’m really sad for people who had to leave the island or who weren’t able to get over here at all."