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Guess Who Inspired the Statue of Liberty Climber

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ABC A woman appears to be climbing up the Statue of Liberty

The woman who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July and sat underneath the sandal of Lady Liberty for hours is speaking out.

Okoumou, of Staten Island, was born and educated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but she has lived in NY for at least 10 years now, records have indicated.

Okoumou is an active member of New York-based activist group Rise and Resist, whose members had previously held an "Abolish I.C.E" banner at the statue.

With the dramatic scene unfolding on live television, she and the officers edged carefully around the rim of the statue's robes toward a ladder, and she climbed down about 8 metres to the monument's observation point and was taken into custody.

Okoumou, a 44-year-old naturalized citizen who immigrated from the Republic of Congo in 1994, was met with applause as she spoke outside court, saying that while she wouldn't repeat her actions, she believes her message got across.

- She declared that she wouldn't come down until "all the children are released", according to sources. "She could do some damage".

Many are calling Therese Patricia Okoumou a hero after she climbed to the foot of the Statue of Liberty in a July 4th protest over Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy that separated children from their families.

The woman had earlier taken part in the anti-ICE protest, according to reports quoting an organiser with Rise and Resist, which arranged the demonstration.

President Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Montana, called her a "clown".

"The charges are expected to be violation of national park regulations or public use limit; trespassing; disorderly conduct; and interfering with government functions", the Daily News wrote. Okoumou kept her stance for the next three hours, sometimes walking on the pedestal, waving a T-shirt that said, "Trump Care Makes Us Sick" or lying on her stomach. "And I went as high as I could", Okoumou told reporters.

The incident forced authorities to evacuate Liberty Island on a sweltering holiday afternoon when thousands usually visit the statue, a symbol of American freedom that has stood in the New York Harbor since 1886.

She was released on her own recognizance after she posted bail.

It is not yet clear exactly why the woman scaled the structure. The group said on their Facebook page, "Rise and Resist was at the Statue of Liberty demanding Trump and the GOP #AbolishICE, reunite families now, halt deportations, and end detention as a deterrent".

She faces up to one year and six months in prison if convicted of the misdemeanor charges.

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