Statue of Liberty base climber escorted down

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Woman arrested after scaling the base of the Statue of Liberty: Maggie Rulli reports on Action News at 11 p.m., July 4, 2018 (WPVI)

The Latest on a climber on the base of the Statue of Liberty and the arrests of demonstrators who hung a banner from the statue's pedestal (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

A federal official says a woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty's base and spurred the statue's evacuation on July Fourth told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The official identifies the woman as Therese Okoumou. The official wasn't authorized to discuss it and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A message left at a possible phone number for the woman hasn't been returned.

A group that organized a protest at the statue earlier Wednesday says she took part in unfurling a banner at the statue's pedestal calling for abolishing the federal government's chief immigration enforcement agency. But the group says no one else was aware she would climb the base.

At least six people were arrested in the banner demonstration.

7 p.m.

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.

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6:45 p.m.

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.

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5:30 p.m.

Liberty Island has been evacuated because of a climber at the Statue of Liberty.

A person climbed the statue's base on the Fourth of July shortly after several people were arrested after hanging a banner from the statue's pedestal calling for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

News helicopter video showed the climber sitting Wednesday by the bottom of the statue's robes, about 100 feet (30 meters) aboveground. Police nearby tried to persuade the climber to descend.

Earlier, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said at least six people were taken into custody for the banner, which read "Abolish I.C.E.," referring to part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Willis says federal regulations prohibit hanging banners from the monument.

Banner organizing group Rise and Resist says the climber isn't connected to its demonstration.

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4:15 p.m.

Several people have hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and have been arrested.

National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says at least six people were taken into custody Wednesday. He says federal code of regulations prohibits hanging banners from the monument.

The large banner said "Abolish I.C.E." ICE is a division of the Department of Homeland Security whose officers arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants inside the U.S., among other duties.

Activists with the group Rise and Resist say they hung the banner to protest U.S. immigration policy. They oppose President Donald Trump's administration and advocate 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.
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