Les pères anglais subissent les mêmes difficultés que les pères français
et ils protestent comme ce père-araignée


jeudi 6 novembre 2003, 8h41

Un "Spiderman" met fin à une protestation spectaculaire à Londres

LONDRES (AFP) - Un père de famille privé de visite de sa fille de quatre ans a mis fin à cinq jours de manifestation spectaculaire au coeur de Londres en descendant du haut d'une grue où, déguisé en "Spiderman", il protestait "au nom des pères".

David Chick, vêtu de la combinaison bleu et rouge de Spiderman (l'homme araignée) a été arrêté mercredi à sa descente de la grue de 30 mètres. Il y était perché depuis vendredi, provoquant la fermeture de toute circulation dans le quartier du pont de la Tour de Londres. Le père de famille a été arrêté pour "trouble à l'ordre public", a indiqué un porte-parole de la police.

Plusieurs personnes étaient venues acclamer et soutenir Spiderman dans sa lutte pour les pères empêchés de voir leurs enfants. "Je pense qu'il a soulevé la question. Tout le monde en parle à Londres. Les députés en ont parlé au parlement", a relevé Matt O'Connor, porte-parole du groupe Fathers 4 Justice (F4J/Pères pour la justice), précisant que David Chick n'était pas membre de son organisation. "Nous sommes heureux d'avoir permis de mettre fin à cette manifestation. Nous avons travaillé avec la police la nuit dernière (mardi) et avons obtenu qu'il s'engage à ne pas se rendre sur le bras de la grue pour permettre la réouverture du quartier à la circulation", a-t-il ajouté.

Le pont de la Tour et ses alentours avaient été fermés aux piétons et voitures, la police craignant une chute de Spiderman ou des draps et banderoles qu'il avait suspendus.

David Chick, 36 ans, souffrait de n'avoir pas pu voir sa fille depuis février en raison d'un conflit avec son ex-compagne. Il s'est inspiré de précédentes manifestations organisées par Fathers 4 Justice.

Le mois dernier, deux militants de F4J déguisés en Batman et Robin avaient organisé une brève manifestation, juchés sur les hauteurs de la Cour royale de justice, sans provoquer d'incident.


'Superheroes' fighting for access
The Fathers 4 Justice group has been in the spotlight for some time thanks to its high-profile and often disruptive protests.

The group, who frequently dress as superheroes, have been campaigning for fathers to be given increased access to their children for the past 18 months.
But according to founder Matt O'Connor their early meetings with the government achieved little success. He said: "It is now at the point where we have to fight for basic rights."

Civil disruption

He added: "So many people have lost contact with their children through the courts, it was inevitable something like Fathers 4 Justice was going to emerge."

We are a bunch of guys who are going to be making some pretty scary sacrifices
Matt O'Connor
Last year, the group said it would start an escalation of activity as part of a national campaign of civil disruption.
This began when two masked protesters scaled a court building in Plymouth after they lost the right to contact with their children.
Since then the group have staged several protests on cranes, key roads, bridges and public buildings.
Just before Christmas a group of militant Santas marched on Parliament. In May this year, packages of flour dyed purple were thrown at Tony Blair during Prime Minister's questions.
The group has admitted protesters are running the risk of imprisonment but says its tactics are a "last resort" and that its frustrated members have "exhausted every possible avenue".
"We are a bunch of guys who are going to be making some pretty scary sacrifices. We know many of us are going to go to prison but there is tremendous resolve," Mr O'Connor has said.
"It comes down to the simple fact that we face a Herculean struggle. The politicians are not dealing with this with the degree of urgency this matter deserves."

Contact orders

Family courts issue contact orders in an attempt to ensure access for the parent not living with their children, but Mr O'Connor says these are worthless because they are not enforced.
The government admits that the enforcement of contact orders is "an issue" that needs to be addressed.
A Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) spokesman says "courts are understandably reluctant to impose jail terms or fines on mothers who have children to look after".
But F4J believes the solution is to give parents and grandparents "a legal right to see their children and grandchildren".
"The law says you have no legal right to see your children - only a right to apply to a court to see them - but you have a legal obligation to pay for them."
"Fathers are forced to support children even when mothers are not being forced to allow those fathers access," Mr O'Connor added.