Woman pleads not guilty over Statue of Liberty protest

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WATCH LIVE: Woman climbs base of Statue of Liberty in New York

A woman appeared in a United States court Thursday for attempting to scale the Statue of Liberty to protest President Donald Trump's administration's separation of migrant families, a stunt that forced the monument's evacuation on Independence Day. She called for an end to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy on immigration and family separation at the border.

"I expected when I first got up there, that first ledge we were standing on for I guess a good hour or so was nearly a 45-degree angle".

Outside a Manhattan federal courthouse, where she pled not guilty to all charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing, Okoumou cited former first lady Michelle Obama in her remarks.

But members of the group said they had no idea she was going to scale the statue that day.

Protests and evacuations at the Statue of Liberty are rare but not unheard of. Glacken said it took about three hours to convince Okoumou to get down and she apologized to officers for having to arrest her. She also thanked the national park police for their courtesy and professionalism during the several-hour standoff, adding, "I think the NYPD can learn something or two from them".

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Rise and Resist NYC, which organised the protest, said the woman's climb had not been part of the group's plans.

"But I think the message was sent: No child belongs in a cage", she said outside of court.

Okoumou, 44, is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo but now resides in Staten Island and has lived in New York for roughly a decade, according to New York Daily News.

Police believe other protesters boosted Okoumou to the base of the statue, New York Police Lt. Michael McGuinness said.

For tourists visiting the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, the 4th of July was a bit more colorful than expected.

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But Trump said during a Montana campaign rally she should have been left alone until she chose to come down on her own.

The National Park Service made a decision to evacuate more than 4,000 visitors from Liberty Island on Wednesday out of an abundance of caution, spokesman Jerry Willis said. Okoumou, as usual, went high. Eventually, officers put a harness and ropes on her, and she went with the officers to where a ladder was propped up on the base of the statue.

Therese Okoumou said Thursday after a court appearance on misdemeanor charges that her protest was spontaneous.

Park Police offers briefly detained the protesters, issued them summonses to appear in federal court, and then released them.

Okoumou, 44, is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo but now resides in Staten Island and has lived in NY for roughly a decade.

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