Tuesday 17 July 2018

Person scales Statue of Liberty after ICE banner protest

Earlier, protesters hung a banner from the statue calling for the controversial ICE section of the Department of Homeland Security to be abolished.

People climbing on the side of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal (AP)
People climbing on the side of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal (AP)

By Jennifer Peltz and Jake Pearson, Associated Press

Several people who hung a banner from the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal calling for the abolition of the federal government’s chief immigration enforcement agency were arrested before a person scaled the statue’s base, forcing its evacuation.

About 100ft from the ground, the climber sat by the bottom edge of the statue’s robes for more than two hours. 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 6:15pm closing time, he added.

Earlier, at least six people were taken into custody after unfurling a banner that read “Abolish ICE,” Mr 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.

Mr Willis said federal regulations prohibit hanging banners from the monument.

The activist group behind the banner, Rise and Resist, tweeted that the climber was not 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 US-Mexico border.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the president’s immigration policy is a step forward for public safety.

Press Association

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