Activists hang protest banner on Statue of Liberty; climber prompts evacuation of island

In this image taken from video, people climb on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, July 4, 2018. | Photo by Associated Press, St. George News

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 above ground, 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 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.

Written by JENNIFER PELTZ and JAKE PEARSON, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

14 Comments

  • Real Life July 4, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Open borders do not work. Idiots.

  • IPFreely July 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    If you don’t like it here… THAN LEAVE!!! Crap or get off the pot

    • No Filter July 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      It’s not that we don’t like it here, it’s that we are frustrated with how inhuman our current president and his staff are being to human beings. If your not part of the rich and white clan, then you are just part of the problem. This country once stood up to a man with similar beliefs and we stopped that evil regime. Now that it’s happening to our own country we are seeing his followers making the same choices that the Germans did and it is a terrible thing to watch. But we can trust in the people of this country to stand up and fight back just like we have done before. Your state run media and name calling will not stop it, liberty will prevail. #resist

      • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        Man I started reading but all I could interpret was blah blah blah.. I’m not getting my way so I will throw a tantrum. #resist really?.. you are one special snowflake

      • 42214 July 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        If these Central American refugees are fleeing dangerous conditions and seeking sanctuary why are they travelling 1500 miles through a safe sanctuary country where they already speak the language and could settle in a much safer environment than they fled. Why travel all the way to the USA? It’s for economic reasons, not safety. What would have been the difference if an East German fled the eastern bloc before the end of the cold war and traveled through all of western Europe to seek asylum in the USA. They’re not seeking asylum, they’re seeking economic opportunity and social subsidy at the expense of US Citizens.

        • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

          Quit making sense and using facts.. the lefty’s hat it when you do that

        • bikeandfish July 5, 2018 at 9:08 pm

          Ugh, Mexico has set strict limits on asylum seekers too, hence the travel. And many of the Mexican cities where the Asylum seekers are waiting for processing are very dangerous to immigrants as local law enforcement turns a blind eye to crimes committed against them.

          There are legal differences between the two countries. Mexico only allows Asylum seekers to apply for 30 days compared to one year in the US. Mexico has worse Immigration courts that are understaffed and ill-prepared. These Asylum seekers also have a legal right to continue to the US as Mexico has not reliably been a safe third party country, which means we are legally responsible to process these claims. Etc, etc, etc.

          Take the time to educate yourself before spouting such hateful nonsense. As the Trump administration previously stated, these are simply adults trying to save their families. And we are bound by international law, to which we voluntarily signed, to make good faith attempts to help such people.

          • 42214 July 5, 2018 at 10:51 pm

            Like Trump says, our immigration laws are a joke. I think we should copy Mexico’s laws, re: illegal immigration. They sound good to me. Thanks for the info. We voluntarily signed the Paris climate accord and the Iran Nuke deal too and look how good that worked out. Deport em all.

      • comments July 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm

        The illegals have to go. I personally don’t care how they do it so long as they get rid of them. Let’s get filters onto the next flight to the Congo while were at it. 😉

  • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Where are all the Libs? Still sleeping from all the protests yesterday?

  • 42214 July 5, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Too bad she didn’t fall and break her neck, she would’ve become a martyr.

  • RadRabbit July 5, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Nice, protest for ILLEGAL immigration at a location that welcomed all the LEGAL immigrants that went through Ellis Island. There is a difference between entering a country the correct and legal way and breaking the law and entering illegally, one should be welcomed with open arms the other kicked out never to return again.

    • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Makes sense right? Just like the lefty’s protesting ICE agents for breaking up families when they were breaking up a sex trafficking ring. Morons!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.