A 44-year-old woman climbed the Statue of Liberty in New York yesterday afternoon and stayed there for about four hours until she was taken down by the police.

The woman, Therese Okumu, 44, sought to protest authorities' treatment of illegal migrants entering the United States from Mexico.

The Statue of Liberty and its park were closed - and visitors evacuated - hours before the usual closing time due to the incident, which ended only around 18:15.

Brian Glucken of the NYPD said the woman was sitting on the statue base and spoke about children separated from their parents who brought them at Texas border crossings. "She only mentioned the kids in Texas," he said.

Before climbing the statue, Okumo and 40 other people took part in a demonstration calling for abolishing the police force responsible for immigration and customs, known as ICE. The group initially claimed it had no connection to Okomo, but one of the group's members, Jay Walker, later admitted that Okomo had participated in the group protest, but claimed none of them knew of her intention to climb the statue. However, Walker said, what she did was a successful public relations exercise.

"People have the right to protest," said Jerry Willis, spokesman for the National Parks Authority. "I don't think they have the right to attach the Statue of Liberty to their protest," he added.

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