After the massive July 4 spectacle of a protestor scaling the Statue of Liberty in an effort to combat the United State’s current immigration policies, it appears that the woman in question is now scheduled to appear in court, with her specific charges being revealed as well.
According to NBC, Therese Okoumou, the Staten Island, New York resident who climbed the national monument as part of her protest, will be facing charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions, and is due in court Thursday morning.
Okoumou, along with half a dozen other protestors, were arrested for displaying the signs and causing the spectacle that forced thousands of visitors to the historic statue to evacuate the island due to safety concerns.
The Staten Island native held police off in a reported four-hour long standoff while she maintained her position on the statue. Eventually, two officers scaled the monument to the point where she was and escorted her down, immediately placing her under arrest.
NBC, who quoted Jay Walker, an organizer for the group Rise and Resist that planned the protest and claimed Okoumou as a member, mentioned that the climber was amongst a group of 40 demonstrators who came to the island to share their message that day.
However, Walker also stated that Okoumou’s actions were not predetermined and she acted in a “rogue” manner in her decision to scale the monument. “We don’t know whether she had this planned before she ever got to Liberty Island or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” he had said.
Despite this, the group commended her actions by claiming that, if anything, it simply brought even more awareness to their cause.
Rise and Resist is an organization who opposes the actions of the Donald Trump administration, and most recently has put their efforts mainly towards combatting I.C.E. and other means to deport/separate immigrant families.
Spokesperson Jerry Willis for the National Parks Department saw the entire situation in a different light, saying that “I feel really sorry for those visitors today. People have the right to speak out. I don’t think they have the right to co-opt the Statue of Liberty to do it.”
This is not the first time that the Statue of Liberty has been used for protesting though, back in 2000, 12 people protesting the Navy’s use of the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques for bombing exercises were arrested after a man climbed out on the spires of the statue’s crown and attached flags and banners to it.
Following that, in 2016 a West Virginia resident called in a bomb threat on the island that also forced a total evacuation. As well as an instance last February where an individual hung up a huge “Refugees Welcome” banner from the statue, which was discovered and removed within an hour.