Statue of Liberty climber guilty of trespassing for immigration protest
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty's stone pedestal to protest U.S. immigration policy declared in federal court on Monday she would do it again to call attention to the plight of families separated at the border and was found guilty of trespassing. Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, was also convicted of interfering with governmental administration and disorderly conduct before a U.S
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty's stone pedestal to protest U.S. immigration policy declared in federal court on Monday she would do it again to call attention to the plight of families separated at the border and was found guilty of trespassing.
Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, was also convicted of interfering with governmental administration and disorderly conduct before a U.S. magistrate judge in New York City.
Each misdemeanor count carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, according to Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York. Okoumou, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who the New York Daily News said became a U.S. citizen in 2016, remains free pending her sentencing on March 5, Biase said.
In a statement announcing the guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Okoumou's actions "went well beyond peaceable protest."
"It was a crime that put people at grave risk," Berman said, calling her conduct "dangerous and reckless."
Okoumou was arrested on July 4 after she scaled the base of the statue and began a three-hour standoff with police that led to the evacuation of the landmark in the midst of the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
She and her lawyer later said her act of civil disobedience was primarily a demonstration against the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from parents who were caught crossing the U.S. border illegally.
Administration officials said the policy was needed to secure the border, but it was ended in June after images of separated youngsters held in cage-like detention facilities sparked a furor both at home and abroad.
Testifying in her own defence on Monday, Okoumou was asked by her attorney, Ron Kuby, whether she would repeat her protest under the same circumstances. She answered, "Yes."
"As long as our children are being placed in cages, my moral values call for me to do something about it," she said in court, according to Kuby and the Daily News account.
(Reporting by New York bureau staff; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.