Therese Patricia Okoumou, an immigrant activist who was arrested after scaling the Statue of Liberty yesterday and refusing to leave until "all the children have been released," has been charged with trespassing, interfering with government agency functions, and disorderly conduct. She pleaded not guilty to all three charges, each of them misdemeanors carrying a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

Around 50 supporters, including members of Rise and Resist and Black Lives Matter, packed the Lower Manhattan courthouse on Thursday afternoon for the arraignment, cheering as Okoumou—who wore an inside-out shirt with the words "white supremacy is terrorism" on it—flashed them a thumbs up.

Afterwards, Okoumou gave a brief press conference, explaining that she came to the United States from the Republic of Congo in 1994, and never thought she'd witness an American president putting little kids in cages.

"It is depressing," she said. "It is outrageous. I can say a lot of things about this monster, but I will stop at this: His draconian zero tolerance policy on immigration has to go. In a democracy, we do not put children in cages, period."

"Only a stupid, unintelligent coward and insecure maniac would rip a tender-aged child from its mother," she added.

Okoumou has been in federal custody since Wednesday afternoon, when she was arrested following a three-hour standoff at the base of the statue. Before climbing the monument, Okoumou reportedly took part in an action organized by Rise and Resist, in which dozens of protesters unfurled an "Abolish ICE" banner on the observation deck of the statue.

Credit: Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock

(via Rise and Resist NYC)

An NYPD detective told reporters on Thursday morning that Okoumou was initially hostile to the officers, but later "apologized [to the police] for having to go up to get her." The protester and police officers eventualy established "a good rapport," according to one NYPD official.

Despite Okoumou's belated cooperation, the federal prosecutor in charge of the case signaled on Thursday that he does not plan on letting her off easy. In a statement, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said, "The defendant staged a dangerous stunt that alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the NYPD officers who responded to the scene."

He added, "While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceable protest, that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk."

The intensity of that statement, according to Courthouse News reporter Adam Klasfield, is unusual coming from a U.S. attorney. "In 10 years covering the courts, I have never seen such a strong statement from a U.S. Attorney directed against an activist engaged in civil disobedience," Klasfield wrote on Twitter. He noted that previous U.S. attorneys likely would not have commented directly on such a case, and that the statement "speaks volumes" about the prosecution's priorities.

Okoumou was released on her own recognizance, and is due back in court on August 3rd.

Reporting by Kat Hernandez