Fathers promised more mediation after French crane custody protest

Reuters/Stephane Mahe

A father who had spent more than 3 days and nights perched on a crane, ended his protest after French ministers met with Fathers' rights groups on Monday.


Justice minister Christiane Taubira and France's minister for families, Dominique Bertinotti, told representatives of SOS Papa and SVP Papa that mediation would be given greater importance in family disputes.

Serge Charnay first mounted the 40-metre-high shipyard crane on Friday morning in the western port of Nantes, to highlight his case, unfurling a large banner that read: "Benoit, two years without a dad."

His publicity stunt was aimed at winning back the right to see his son, born in 2006, after he lost all visiting rights when he was accused of kidnapping the boy.

"It isn't finished, far from it," he said as he set foot on the ground Monday. "I didn't go up there just for my personal case but for the cause of all dads."

His friend Nicolas Moreno, also in a legal battle for the right to see his two sons Evan and Lucas, climbed a nearby crane on Saturday but came down after a few hours.

Another distressed father staged a copycat protest in the eastern city of Strasbourg but climbed down the crane after two hours, following police intervention.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault ordered Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to meet with representatives of groups defending fathers' rights Monday afternoon.

But some French politicians, including far right National Front vice-president Florian Philippot said the government had given in to blackmail.

He commented that Marine Le Pen, who scored 17 per cent in the first round of France's presidential elections, had not yet had a meeting with interior minister Manuel Valls over planned electoral reforms.

"Perhaps she should go to the top a crane to be listened to, heard, received," he told French television.




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