Police apprehended a woman on the Statue of Liberty's stone pedestal on Wednesday after a three-hour standoff that forced the evacuation of thousands of tourists from the New York Harbor landmark on Independence Day.
The National Parks Service could not confirm whether the woman was part of a group of protesters who had earlier unfurled a banner that read "Abolish ICE" from the base of the statue, a symbol of American freedom, according to media reports.
ICE, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is at the center of the Trump administration's shelved policy of separating some immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border, leading to calls for its disbanding.
Television images showed two officers in climbing harnesses and helmets grabbing the woman as she reclined near the upturned right foot of the giant statue. Minutes before, the woman removed her pink athletic shoes and attempted unsuccessfully to scale Lady Liberty's green tarnished robes.
"She is refusing to cooperate and our efforts to engage her are ongoing at this minute," Sgt. David Somma, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told Reuters before the woman was apprehended.
The New York Police Department said NYPD hostage negotiators were assisting the park service in attempting to persuade the woman to surrender.
Seven protesters were arrested on the island earlier Wednesday, Sgt. David Somma, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told Reuters, but he could not confirm whether the woman in the standoff was a protester.
The incident forced the park service to evacuate Liberty Island on a sweltering holiday afternoon when typically thousands of tourists visit the historic statue, dedicated in 1886.
The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, has become a worldwide symbol of the American values of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Standing 305 feet from the tip of its torch to the ground, the statue guards the mouth of New York Harbor off lower Manhattan, in view of a spectacular fireworks show over the East River, presented every July 4 after nightfall.
At the same time, Jersey City will present a fireworks display at Liberty State Park along the Hudson River near the statue.
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