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Even the Statue of Liberty Joined the Women's Strike Thanks to an 'Unexpected Outage'

Lady Liberty went dark on Tuesday night—just in time for "A Day Without a Woman"—though park officials said it was just a systems failure.

by Brian Moylan
Mar 8 2017, 5:14pm

Photo via Flickr user Alex M. Hayward

Lady Liberty decided to take some time off Tuesday night, in a fitting kickoff to Wednesday's "Day Without a Woman" protests. On the eve of the worldwide strike, the spotlights on Liberty Island, which usually illuminate the statue in New York Harbor, failed due to an "unexpected outage." Starting at about 10 PM, she was plunged into total darkness, except for the illumination in her torch and crown.

The official Twitter of the Statue of Liberty National Park informed the public Tuesday night that the outage was just a systems failure, likely due to a new emergency generator being installed—one of the remaining repairs after Superstorm Sandy hit the island in 2012. The lights wound up coming back on at about 11:30 PM.

The organizers behind January's Women's March decided it was a fitting show of support to kick off International Women's Day and tweeted, "Thank you for standing with the resistance and going dark for the #DayWithoutAWoman." Others noted that the women skipping work today are also "protesting because of a power failure," just like the famous American symbol.

A National Park Service (NPS) spokesperson told the media Wednesday morning that the outage was "unplanned" and is still being investigated, which is not so much an admission of error as a way to avoid accusations that it was part of a political demonstration. Just days after President Trump's inauguration, a number of NPS Twitter accounts defiantly disseminated climate change information to protest the president placing a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency. But Trump quickly put the kibosh on that social media rebellion.

This isn't the first time during this administration that the Statue of Liberty—originally intended as a celebration of the end of slavery—has been enlisted in the resistance to government policies. Last month, an activist group unfurled a giant banner reading "Refugees Welcome" on the base of the statue. Park rangers quickly removed it, but not before images of the creative protest against Trump's travel ban went viral. Even when the statue is just standing there, in light or in darkness, activists keep putting her to work for a good cause.

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