On Fourth of July, Statue of Liberty Protesters Declare: “Abolish ICE”

“ICE has proved to be a threat to our liberty and way of life, and should be abolished,” said group member behind the protest

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-4-2018

“Reflecting the sentiments of Saturday’s nationwide End Family Separation protests, members of Rise and Resist staged a visual protest at the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day. An ABOLISH ICE banner was hung from the statue, and activists spelled out the same message on their shirts. Dozens of tourists cheered on the activists, and the protest was broadcast via live stream over social media.” (Photo: Screenshot/Rise & Resist)

Protesters taking a stand against the Trump administration’s cruel and inhumane immigration and border policies were arrested at the Statue of Liberty in New York City on Wednesday, the Fourth of July—a potent and symbolic day to remind Americans of the essential role that those who emigrated and sought shelter in the United States have played in the nation’s history.

While one group was arrested after dropping a banner that read “Abolish ICE,” a separate individual scaled the statue while police attempted desperately to end the dramatic action.

In their statement, the group said their action on Wednesday was in solidarity with nationwide protests last weekend against Trump’s child detention and family separation policies, but was also driven by the following realities:

  • Tens of thousands of people whom ICE has deported have no criminal record;
  • ICE detainees have been denied medical care and are subject to solitary confinement, sexual assault, and rape. ICE requested that the National Archives and Records Administration destroy records related to its detention operations;
  • Asylum seekers are often held by ICE without trial or bail;
  • While the United Stated has a reputation for refuge. ICE conducts raids in our schools, courthouses and workplaces, spreading fear and brutality.

“ICE has proved to be a threat to our liberty and way of life, and should be abolished,” said Leon Kirschner, Rise and Resist member. “They go after the most vulnerable among us, acting without due process to detain people. For-profit companies are making money off family separation. This has to stop now.”

The group said via their Twitter stream  that an individual who later climbed onto the lower portion of the iconic Lady of Liberty had no affiliation with their group:

The Climber on the Statue of Liberty has no connection to our #abolishice action earlier today. @NYDailyNews @ABC

— Rise and Resist (@riseandresistny) July 4, 2018

Nonetheless, the person who scaled further up the base of the statue spurred the evacuation of the National Park in which the statue sits and stirred breaking news reports on major networks:

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