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Statue of Liberty Climber Awaits Court Appearance
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 6 years ago on
July 5, 2018

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NEW YORK — Authorities say a Fourth of July protester who held police at bay for hours after she climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty, causing an evacuation, will face a judge in New York.
A federal official says the woman told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
A court appearance is expected sometime Thursday.

Climber Identified as Therese Okoumou

The official identified the woman as Therese Okoumou. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss it and spoke on the condition of anonymity. A message left at a possible phone number for the defendant hasn’t been returned.
A group that organized a protest at the statue earlier Wednesday says she also took part in unfurling a banner at the statue’s pedestal. But the group says no one else was aware she would climb the base.
At least six people were arrested in the banner demonstration.

Details of the Rescue

After two New York Police Department officers went up to the base and reached her, news helicopter video showed Okoumou and the officers moving carefully along the edge of the statue’s robes toward a ladder police had set up.
She climbed down about 25 feet to the statue’s observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.
As they approached, she initially moved away, took off her shoes and appeared to be starting to climb further.
Then she sat against the statue’s foot, and the officers went up to her. They put on her shoes and attached a harness to her.
Her climb spurred the evacuation of Liberty Island.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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