CRIME
07/04/2018 04:36 pm ET Updated Jul 05, 2018

Statue Of Liberty Climber Forces Liberty Island Evacuation After Earlier Protest

Six ICE protesters were arrested, along with the climber. The protesters said the climber wasn't part of their group.

Two displays of resistance to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies marked July 4th at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, including one that forced National Park Service officials to shut down Liberty Island.

Six people from a New York-based group called Rise and Resist were arrested for hanging a large banner that read “Abolish I.C.E.” ― the controversial federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency ― on the statue’s pedestal. National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis told The Associated Press the individuals were taken into custody around 2:30 p.m. local time.

Rise and Resist, a New York-based group that focuses on immigration policy, claimed responsibility for the banner.
Rise and Resist
Rise and Resist, a New York-based group that focuses on immigration policy, claimed responsibility for the banner.

Federal law prohibits visitors from bringing or hanging banners, flags or posters larger than 20 feet on the statue, which is managed by the National Park Service. 

Rise and Resist is a citizens group that focuses on immigration policy.

Shortly after the banner incident, law enforcement officials received reports of a person climbing the Statue of Liberty, according to WABC-TV.

Witnesses near Liberty Island shared photos of a woman who had made her way up to the iconic statue’s pedestal. Willis confirmed to CBS News that U.S. Park Police and the New York City police officers tried to persuade the woman to leave her perch. 

Park officials evacuated Liberty Island as the authorities dealt with the woman, who walked around the base of the statue and at one point sat in the folds of Lady Libery’s gown.

As seen in video live-streamed on Facebook, officers in climbing gear eventually reached the woman after two hours, hooked her up to safety harnesses and brought her down a ladder, where she was taken into custody. Her identity was not immediately released by officials. 

“We’ve had two unusual events occur back-to-back,” Willis told WABC-TV, “so for the safety and security of our visitors, we decided to evacuate for the day.”

Photos of the incident show the woman displaying an item that resembles a flag or T-shirt at least once. 

Rise and Resist took responsibility for the anti-ICE banner, but said in a tweet that their protest was unrelated to the woman who climbed the statue.

Martin Joseph Quinn, a Rise and Resist member, told CNN the woman was affiliated with the group but that she took her actions on her own.

“She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action. We are deeply concerned for her safety,” Quinn said.

According to a blog post published Wednesday, Rise and Resist members handed out “literature” to visitors at the statue calling for the Trump administration to reunite immigrant children who have been separated from their parents and halt deportations.

“ICE has proved to be a threat to our liberty and way of life, and should be abolished,” Leon Kirschner, a group member, wrote in the blog post. ICE officers “go after the most vulnerable among us, acting without due process to detain people. For-profit companies are making money off family separation. This has to stop now.”

The role of the agency, formed as part of the revamping of the U.S. government’s security apparatus following the 9/11 attacks, has become a major political battle between Trump and leading Democrats.

This story has been updated throughout with details on the climber and the closure of the park.

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