BBC : Statue of Liberty evacuated after woman climbed monument base

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Media captionThe person could be seen climbing around the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York

Tourists were evacuated from Liberty Island in New York Harbour after a woman climbed up on to the Statue of Liberty and sat on the monument's base.

Police took the woman into custody after three hours of trying to coax her down via a ladder that had been secured to the statue's pedestal.

Eyewitnesses posted images and footage on social media showing the woman scaling the structure on Wednesday.

Earlier, several people were arrested after holding a protest at the statue.

The protesters were detained after unveiling an "Abolish Ice" banner on the statue's pedestal, referring to the government's Immigration and Customs Enforcement body, the agency responsible for identifying and removing undocumented immigrants throughout the United States.

National Park Service police and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) were later called to the scene shortly after reports of an individual climbing the monument.

One eyewitness, Eric Kwasi Oppongto, posted a short video of the incident on Twitter which he said involved an individual with a T-shirt emblazoned with "Trump care makes me sick" and "Rise and Resist".

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Another user, Sarah, said the island was being "evacuated of all tourists".

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It is not yet clear exactly who the woman is and why she scaled the structure. Police said prosecutors would decide later whether she would be charged with any crime.

Detective Brian Glacken of the BYPD's Emergency Service Unit said it had not been an easy operation.

"It was a really technical rescue just because of the slopes up there - I mean, it wasn't a flat surface. There was nothing for [my colleague] Chris and I to grab on to," he said.

"At first she wasn't friendly with us but we took our time to basically get a dialogue with her... when we got her and she couldn't go any further I think she realised that her time was up up there."

Rise and Resist, which organised the earlier demonstration involving the Abolish Ice slogan, said on Twitter the woman was not connected with their activist group.

Demonstrations have recently taken place across the country after it emerged that Ice agents had separated thousands of young children from parents who had entered the US illegally.

Wednesday's incidents took place on the US independence holiday 4 July.

In February last year, protesters hung a giant "Refugees Welcome" banner across the Liberty statue's observation deck.

Attaching items to the national monument, a symbol of American acceptance of immigrants, is strictly prohibited, according to the state's National Park Service police.

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