Jay W. Walker, one of the group’s organizers, stated that Ms. Okoumou, who is understood to different members as Patricia, had been concerned with Rise and Resist for a number of months. He described her as lively, repeatedly collaborating within the group’s occasions. But on Wednesday, he stated, different members weren’t conscious of her plans to climb the statue.
“She’s a free citizen in the world — it’s a choice she made,” Mr. Walker stated. “I think the choice she made is certainly bringing more attention to the overall protest.”
He added, “We don’t condemn her for the choice she made, and we’re going to do anything we can to support her.”
The Statue of Liberty, the colossal mint-green monument and one of probably the most seen points of interest linked to New York City, has lengthy been a potent protest image, with a historical past about as previous because the statue itself as a stage for political demonstrations.
Suffragists protested at its unveiling in 1886, circling the island in a ship. In 1976, members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War barricaded themselves inside the monument to protest cuts in schooling advantages for veterans, and final yr, a gaggle hung a banner that stated “refugees welcome.”
“On a day like Independence Day, we felt that it was the perfect melding of these huge symbols of what this country stands for,” Mr. Walker stated of Rise and Resist.
But the Statue of Liberty can also be a draw for guests who’ve come from world wide, and Mr. Willis stated that Ms. Okoumou’s actions, which he described as a stunt, ruined the plans of the numerous others who tried to go to the island.
“It is their one and only chance to come here,” he stated. “Unfortunately, we had to clear the island.”