Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityWoman climbs building in East Austin to protest against child immigrant detentions | KEYE
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Woman climbs building in East Austin to protest against child immigrant detentions

(Photo: CBS Austin)
(Photo: CBS Austin)
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UPDATE: Therese Patricia Okoumou came down from the building on her own at around 7:55 p.m.

She was taken to a local hospital after being in the elements all day. She will then be taken to jail and charged with criminal trespassing.

Austin Police said Okoumou stood on a three foot beam at the top of the building for eight hours. APD said the negotiators, fire fighters and officers who were trying to get her down were physically and mentally fatigued.

Throughout the day, Austin Police said 70 officers were in and out of the scene trying to reach a safe, peaceful resolution.


A woman is climbing a Southwest Key school in east Austin as a way to protest against immigrant detentions and the separation of families.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, a reported professional climber, climbed the Southwest Key Program's building on Jain Ln.

The Austin Police Department has blocked the front of the facility as they try to talk her down, but she refuses. Two Austin Police negotiators are speaking to her. APD said they are waiting for her to come down on her own.

Okoumou, a fitness instructor, also climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on Fourth of July of last year to protest family separation, after which she was charged with trespassing, interfering with government agency functions, and disorderly conduct. She has a court date in March for that incident, according to activists at the scene in Austin.

According to Louis Moncivias, an Austin activist associated with Okoumou, she has also climbed the Eiffel Tower and a Border Patrol museum in El Paso in protest. He says she has been preparing this climb for two and a half weeks.

Southwest Key COO Joella Brooks released the following statement regarding Okoumou's protest:

It’s unfortunate that people still don’t understand the mission of Southwest Key Programs. For the last 30 years, Southwest Key Programs has been about taking care of children and their families in the juvenile justice system, unaccompanied minors as well as educating children across the country.
In our unaccompanied minor programs, our teachers, our clinicians our case managers, our social workers our staff, begin to work immediately once kids come into our programs to reunite them with their families and sponsors here in the U.S. Southwest Key will continue to drive towards its mission of opening doors to opportunity so that individuals can achieve their dreams.
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