Liberty Island in New York has been evacuated after a protester climbed its iconic statue in a demonstration against Donald Trump’s controversial border policy.

The person was spotted trying to scale the Statue of Liberty shortly after seven people were arrested for unfurling a banner labelled “Abolish ICE” at its base, according to US media.

ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and has been the target of numerous protests across the US since the Trump administration began separating thousands of children from their families as they tried to cross the Mexico border illegally.

A person can be seen sitting on the base of the statue, with a ladder nearby. Pic: @sarah_eyebrows
A person can be seen sitting on the statue, with a ladder nearby. Pic: @sarah_eyebrows

The “zero-tolerance” policy has seen more than 2,300 children split from their parents since May, with anyone found to be entering the US illegally set for arrest and prosecution.

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The crisis has dragged on despite the president signing an executive order to stop separations following backlash at home and abroad, which prompted confusion among officials tasked with reuniting youngsters who had already been detained away from their families.

Action group Rise and Resist organised the earlier protest at the Statue of Liberty, which was broadcast live on social media.

Liberty Island has been evacuated. Pic: @sarah_eyebrows
Visitors to Liberty Island were evacuated. Pic: @sarah_eyebrows

One of its members, Leon Kirschner, said: “ICE has proved to be a threat to our liberty and way of life, and should be abolished. They go after the most vulnerable among us, acting without due process to detain people.

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“For-profit companies are making money off family separation. This has to stop now.”

After the sighting of the protester attempting to climb the statue, tourists were escorted back on to the mainland.

The banner opposed the president's border policy
The banner opposed the president’s border policy

US media reports that the island has been evacuated “as a precaution”, citing local police.

The protest – which fell on Independence Day when the majority of Americans are on a public holiday – came after Mr Trump was labelled a “wasteman” for his border policy by the lord mayor of Sheffield.

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Green Party councillor Magid Magid said the policy – as well as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and his infamous “Muslim ban” – meant the president would not be welcome in the city during his visit to the UK next week.

The former refugee, originally from Somalia, tweeted on Wednesday: “I Magid Magid, Lord Mayor & first citizen of this city hereby declare that not only is Donald J Trump (@realDonaldTrump) a WASTEMAN, but he is also henceforth banned from the great city of Sheffield!

“I further declare July 13th to be Mexico Solidarity Day!”

The mayor does not actually have any power to ban Mr Trump from the city – and a visit was not on the cards anyway.


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