7pm EDT update:
NEW YORK (AP) — A protester who climbed the Statue of Liberty’s base has been escorted down by police after a roughly four-hour standoff that forced the evacuation of Liberty Island on the Fourth of July.
After two New York Police Department officers went up to the base and reached her, news helicopter video showed her 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 (8 meters) to the statue’s observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.
Earlier, several people on the statue’s pedestal hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and were arrested.
The protest group, Rise and Resist, earlier said the climb wasn’t connected to the banner demonstration. The group now says the climber was involved in the demonstration but the climb wasn’t part of the plan.
6:45pm EDT update:
NEW YORK (AP) – Police have reached a person who scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July and appear to be trying to escort her down.
News helicopter video showed two New York Police Department officers, attached to tethers, climb up to the base around 6:15 p.m.
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 have since put on her shoes and attached a harness to her.
The climber has been there for about three hours, with police talking to her.
Her climb spurred the evacuation of Liberty Island.
Earlier, several people hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and were arrested.
6pm EDT update:
NEW YORK (AP) — Several people who hung a banner from the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal calling for abolishing the federal government’s chief immigration enforcement agency were arrested on July Fourth shortly before a person scaled the statue’s base, forcing its evacuation.
About 100 feet (30 meters) aboveground, the climber alternately sat and lay by the bottom edge of the statue’s robes for more than two hours on Wednesday, news helicopter video showed. Police, standing on a ladder and a ledge nearby, tried to talk the climber into descending.
The climber made about a 25-foot (8-meter) ascent from the monument’s observation point, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said. Visitors were forced to leave Liberty Island hours before its normal 6:15 p.m. closing time, he said.
Earlier and farther below, at least six people were taken into custody after unfurling a banner that read “Abolish I.C.E.,” Willis said. The message referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE officers arrest and deport immigrants who are in the United States illegally, among other duties.
Willis said federal regulations prohibit hanging banners from the monument.
The activist group behind the banner, Rise and Resist, tweeted that the climber wasn’t connected to its demonstration and expressed concern for the climber’s safety.
The New York-based group opposes President Donald Trump’s administration and advocates ending deportations and family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the president’s immigration policy is a step forward for public safety.
Under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, the government has begun requiring border agents to arrest and prosecute anyone caught entering the country illegally. That resulted in more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents within six weeks this spring.
Under public pressure, Trump later halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents. A federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration late last month to reunite the more than 2,000 children with their parents in 30 days, or 14 days in the case of those under age 5.
“Abolish ICE” has become a rallying cry at some protests around the country and for some prominent Democratic officials seeking to boost their progressive credentials.
Trump said on Twitter last week that abolishing ICE will “never happen!”
Protests and evacuations at the Statue of Liberty are rare but not unheard of.
Last February, someone hung a banner reading “Refugees Welcome” from the observation deck. The sign was taken down about an hour after being discovered.
A year earlier, a West Virginia man with psychological problems was sentenced to time served after calling in a bomb threat. His call forced the evacuation of Liberty Island, sending 3,200 people on boats back to lower Manhattan and New Jersey.
The statue, a gift from France, was dedicated in 1886. It became a welcoming symbol for immigrants and refugees coming to the U.S.
NEW YORK (AP) — Several people who hung a banner calling for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement from the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal on the Fourth of July have been arrested, and authorities say a person is scaling the statue’s base.
National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says the climber was at the base beneath the statue’s foot Wednesday afternoon. Willis says police are atop the base, advising the climber to go down.
It’s unclear whether the climb is related to the earlier banner demonstration.
Willis says at least six people were taken into custody then. He says federal regulations prohibit hanging banners from the monument.
The banner said “Abolish I.C.E.,” referring to part of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE officers arrest and deport immigrants who are in the United States illegally, among other duties.