Woman pleads not guilty over Statue of Liberty protest

Woman pleads not guilty over Statue of Liberty protest

After appearing in court on misdemeanor charges Thursday, 44-year-old Therese Okoumou claimed that she had chose to scale the statue's base on the Fourth of July to protest the Trump administration's policy that has led to the separation of thousands of children from their families.

Okoumo, a naturalized USA citizen originally from the Republic of Congo, pled not guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and interference with government function.

Okoumou pleaded not guilty at a court hearing where she was treated like a rock star by a courtroom packed with supporters wearing pro-immigration T-shirts who crowded the courtroom. Her protest turned into a almost three-hour standoff with police. Earlier in the day, Okoumou and dozens of other group members unfurled an "Abolish ICE" banner at the statue's pedestal.

"Michele Obama, our beloved first lady that I care so much about, said when they go low, we go high".

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo and now living in Staten Island, Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday after participating in an "Abolish ICE" protest with activist group Rise and Resist.

- Liberty Island, crowded with visitors on one of its busiest tourist days of the year, was evacuated.

If convicted, Okoumou could face up to six months in prison for each count. She told police that she would not "come down until all the children are released", reports CNN.

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

Okoumou also thanked the emergency responders who climbed up the statue to bring her down after a four-hour standoff. At around 6 p.m., police joined the woman at the statue's base-around 25 feet above the observation area-and took her into custody.

Following her federal court appearance on Thursday, she addressed the immigration organization, "Rise and Resist", and said, "no child belongs in a cage. especially on a holiday like this".

It was the same long-sleeved shirt she wore in court, but it had been turned inside-out at the recommendation of her lawyer.

The park service was reviewing security videotape to try to determine how the woman was able to make the climb, Willis said.

The park service also was taking a closer look at the statue to see if there was any damage, though that's unlikely, Willis said. The replica "brought a new face to the iconic statue-a face which audiences found appeared more "fresh-faced, ' "sultry" and even 'sexier" than the original located in NY", the suit said.

Okoumou was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate for an arraignment hearing, a spokesman for the USA attorney's office in Manhattan said.

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