The woman who scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies has been identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou.
After she climbed the base of the statue, Okoumou reportedly told police she was refusing to get down until “all the children are released.”
This was in reference to the thousands of migrant children who have been separated and detained as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy in recent months.
Okoumou is an immigrant and an active anti-Trump protester
Okoumou, 44, is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo but currently resides in Staten Island and has lived in New York for roughly a decade, according to New York Daily News.
She has reportedly been an active participant in protests against the Trump administration and is a member of the group Rise and Resist. On its website, the group describes itself as “committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality, and our civil liberties.”
The group staged a protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policies at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, hanging an “Abolish ICE” banner at the base of the statue.
But members of the group said they had no idea she was going to scale the statue that day.
Rise and Resist’s Twitter page expressed support for Okoumou after facing criticism for allegedly distancing itself from her in initial statements on Wednesday.
“Patricia is our friend, our comrade, our sister,” the group tweeted, adding, “We unequivocally support Patricia.”
When she’s not involved in anti-Trump protests, Okoumou reportedly works as a personal trainer.
Images of Okoumou standing and sitting on the base of the statue went viral on Wednesday
Many, including Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., expressed support for what Okoumou did.
“Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” #MLK #ThereseOkoumou
This brave woman. From the literal foot of Liberty. Legs crossed. Speaking, calmly, for all of us. With a sense of morality & humanity. Release those children. Reunite the families. Stay awake America. Do not lose your outrage. Do not become numb to injustice. This is patriotism.
“Differences of race, nationality or religion should not be used to deny any human being citizenship rights or privileges.” – Rosa Parks
“When one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks #TheresePatriciaOkoumou
Strength and power to #TheresePatriciaOkoumou for shutting down liberty island on the 4th of July to demand liberty for immigrant children locked behind bars. #WomenDisobey
Okoumou was arrested for her actions at the Statue of Liberty
Okoumou, who has had encounters with law enforcement during prior politically charged protests, was ultimately arrested on Wednesday and charged with federal trespassing and disorderly conduct. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
This is not the first time she’s been arrested in relation to an act of protest.
In 2017, Okoumou was arrested for trespassing, obstruction of government administration, and misdemeanor assault during a protest at the offices of New York state’s department of labor on Varick Street in New York City, the New York Daily News reports.
She allegedly refused to leave the building and police claim she flailed her arms and legs around while lying on the ground, striking an officer in the process. This led her to be charged with misdeamor assault.