Independence Day is a huge cause for celebration, but safety and security remains the top priority, especially in a city as large as New York.
NYPD officers had quite the task to tackle on the national holiday as a woman scaled the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of families crossing the border. Wednesday’s incident made national headlines as the lone woman was captured in photos and videos as she stood in the folds of the statue’s favorite dress.
U.S. Park police were joined by officers from the New York Police Department as they tried to coax her to come down. The unusual incident prompted an evacuation of Liberty Island as 3,000 to 4,000 visitors were forced to leave the island and board waiting ferries.
The woman’s identity remains unknown at this time, but she was arrested after she refused to come down. She remained near the statue’s sandals for the good part of two hours, prompting police officers to climb the statue with ropes and climbing gear to reach her and bring her down.
CNN reported that the woman allegedly told police she was refusing to come down until “all the children were released.”
Although the group Rise and Resist was protesting, organizers say the statue incident was not planned. The direct action group stands by their mission and is “committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality and our civil liberties,” according to their website.
The organization took to Twitter, sharing this message: “Rise and Resist planned a banner drop today at the Statue of Liberty. This action did not include the climber on the statue. Our action was completed earlier. While it was not part of our action, our first priority and concern is for the safety of the climber.”
These protests stem from the separation of thousands of migrant children and their parents while crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. After significant pushback, President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month reversing his administration’s policy of separating kids from their parents when they illegally cross into the country. Trump’s decision came just weeks after he stated only Democrats could solve the migrant-child crisis.