What did you do on July 4? You probably kept it conventionally American with a big family cookout. Or, maybe you went a little wild and held a huge party – the effects of which you’ll no doubt be feeling until Labor Day when it will be time to do it all over again. Some of you may have even volunteered this Independence Day to help those in need.
Then, of course, many of you may have had to work, because unfortunately (and rather ironically), not everyone has the luxury of a day off on America’s official day of freedom.
One person who certainly didn’t take the day off is Therese Patricia Okoumou who became a viral sensation on July 4, after she scaled the Statue of Liberty in protest against America’s separation of migrant families.
For several hours the authorities attempted to talk Okoumou down from the historic monument, but she refused to leave until “all the children are released.”
Eventually, the authorities were left with no option but to climb the statue themselves in order to reprimand Okoumou, who is part of a larger organization attempting to raise awareness for the plight of migrant children.
It took around 16 officers from New York City Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit – a highly experienced team who are trained to rescue people in highly dangerous situations – to remove Okoumou from the monument.
Watch the moment they forced her down from the statue…
“At first, she wasn’t friendly with us, but we took the time to get a rapport with her so that took a while,” said Office Brian Glacken in a news conference on Wednesday.
“At first she was being a little combative, then she was willing to cooperate with us. She actually apologized to us for having to go up and get her,” he told reporters.
“She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas. I guess the whole debate that’s going on about that. In the beginning, she threatened to push us off, push the ladder off, but we stayed with her,” Glacken added.
Eventually, the team was able to attach a harness to Okoumou and bring her safely down to the ground.
Once on the ground, Okoumou was arrested. She is currently being held in a federal custody but will be transferred to the US Marshals office later today.
Okoumou is part of the Rise and Resist protest group, an organization who were quick to put distance between themselves and Okoumou. “She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action,” stated Martin Joseph Quinn, an organizer of the group.
It is believed that Okoumou was assisted by seven other protestors who helped boost her up to the statue. They were also arrested on Wednesday for the part they played in the stunt.
Rise and Resist are currently “working to secure the best legal representation” for Okoumou.
It is believed that she will be charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions, after the area was closed to the public whilst authorities dealt with the situation.
Despite the criminal repercussions that Okoumou may face as a result of her actions, the people of the world are fully in support of her.
For example, on Twitter, people have been particularly joyous about Okoumou’s actions.
But, what do you think? Did she do the right thing, or was there a better way she could have made her point?