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Here’s why the Statue of Liberty went dark Tuesday night

Conspiracy theories abounded on social media.
Some of Lady Liberty's lights went out Tuesday due to a power outage, the National Pa@randybals/Twitter

The night before thousands of women were expected to participate in #DayWithoutAWoman and International Women’s Day events, one of the most iconic women in America took a powerful stance.

Or did she?

Just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, New York’s Statue of Liberty, usually illuminated from below, went dark, save for her torch and crown.

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Social media, however, lit up immediately with conspiracy theories. Some thought Lady Liberty was “standing with the resistance and going dark for #DayWithoutAWoman,” according to the Twitter account of the movement’s organizer, Women’s March, which also organized the worldwide event the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.


“I’d like to think it’s a sign of the times,” @plumbum821 tweeted along with #MuslimBan, referencing President Donald Trump's controversal travel ban from mostly Muslim nations. Since being dedicated more than 130 years ago, the statue has always been a welcoming landmark for immigrants coming to America.

“Isn’t this normally a sign in horror movies that shit is about to go down?” @sideofry wondered.

Despite how perfectly fitting all of the theories swirling around may have been, the lights were back on by midnight, and the National Park Service, which manages the Statue of Liberty, said on Facebook that the “outage was most likely due to work related to an ongoing project to activate a new emergency backup generator.” The project is “part of our last remaining Hurricane Sandy recovery projects.”

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An exact cause of the outage is expected to come later Wednesday morning, and it most definitely will not include a political statement from Lady Liberty.

“We don’t use the lighting system to back any particular cause,” Jerry Willis, a public affairs officer for the NPS told The Washington Post.

The last time the landmark’s lights went off was during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when most of Liberty Island was underwater. The island was subsequently closed for eight months after the storm.

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