The woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day has been revealed to be a Congolese immigrant, 44, who was arrested last year for assaulting a cop at a protest and is said to attend one anti-Trump demonstration a week.
Therese Okoumou, 44, was snatched by police at 6.30pm after two-hours perched on the 89-feet-high pedestal of the New York Harbor monument wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Rise and Resist’ on one side and ‘Trump Care Makes Us Sick’ on the other.
Okoumou lives in Staten Island and arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo 10 years ago. She is highly active in anti-Trump demonstrations and a member of Rise and Resist, which unfurled an ‘abolish ICE’ banner before her climb.
The personal trainer was arrested in August 2017 for trespassing and obstruction of government administration during a demonstration at the New York Department of Labor, reported the New York Daily News.
Okoumou was also charged with misdemeanor assault after striking an officer with her foot while flailing on the ground in an attempt to avoid being put into an ambulance.
Although Rise and Resist say they do not condone her decision to climb the Statue of Liberty, member Jay Walker said she had been a member for ‘four or five months’ who came along to a protest most weeks.
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Personal trainer Therese Okoumou, 44, was snatched by police at 6.30pm after two-hours perched on the 89-feet-high pedestal of the New York Harbor monument. She is seen in undated photos
Police on ladders spoke to Therese Okoumou, 44, just after 4.30pm but she refused to come down, so officers constructed a rope rescue system to remove her from the base of the statue against her will. They are seen moving around the corner to snatch her
At 6.30pm, police grabbed Okoumou and began attaching her to the rope system in preparation for the descent
The officers then moved Okoumou back around the 89-feet-high base base of the statue and down the short ladder to safety
Okoumou was wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Trump Makes Us Sick’ on one side and ‘Rise and Resist’ on the other
Okoumou has a long history of pursuing anti-discrimination campaigns.
In 2003, she unsuccessfully filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit, claiming racial discrimination after she was fired from a battered woman’s home.
Four years later, she unsuccessfully filed a human rights complaint against a group home in Staten Island for racial discrimination.
And in 2009, she won $1,500 off a towing company, County Recovery, after she accused an employee of calling her a ‘n*****’ and saying she should be shipped back to Africa, reported Heavy.
Tito Rivera, the superintendent in Okoumou’s apartment building, said her latest stunt came as no surprise. ‘She’s very outspoken about the Trump administration,’ he said.
Okoumou will appear in Manhattan federal court on July 5 on charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.
Around 4,500 tourists were evacuated from Liberty Island during her stunt, which officials feared would damage the monument due to the area where she was walking.
After her arrest on Wednesday Okoumou was taken to hospital so she could be checked over after spending several hours in hot conditions.
Earlier that day, the seven Rise and Resist protesters were arrested by the United States Park Police after unfurling their anti-ICE banner. The group was formed in response to Trump’s election in 2006.
They will be charged with unlawful protest.
A press release from the group said their actions were a carry-on from Saturday’s nationwide End Family Separation protests. The group insists it did not condone Okoumou’s actions.
‘An ABOLISH ICE banner was hung from the statue, and activists spelled out the same message on their shirts.
‘Dozens of tourists cheered on the activists, and the protest was broadcast via live stream over social media,’ they said.
‘ICE has proved to be a threat to our liberty and way of life, and should be abolished,’ said Leon Kirschner, Rise and Resist member.
‘They 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.’
Okoumou is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo who has lived in Staten Island for 10 years
She is active in anti-Trump demonstrations and a member of Rise and Resist, which unfurled an ‘abolish ICE’ banner before her climb
Okoumou was seen being led away from the Statue of Liberty by police before being put onto a boat leaving Liberty Island
Earlier, police constructed a rope system to force Okoumou down after she refused to leave the statue of her own accord
Police were seen talking to Okoumou in an effort to get her down, but she refused to cooperate
A NYPD helicopter was seen hovering over Liberty Island as the woman remained at the base of the statue
‘Abolish ICE’ was seen written on t-shirts and on a sign unfurled at the Statue of Liberty before Okoumou began climbing it
The Statue of Liberty was shipped from France in July 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor in June 1885 onboard the frigate ‘Isere’.
It was reassembled on Liberty Island from 350 separate parts and dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was one of the first sights to greet immigrants from across the world as they sailed into New York Harbor before being processed on Ellis Island.
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