Thursday, February 26, 2004

Fathers 4 Justice Attack Law Firm

Angry fathers in law firm protest

A LAW firm was the focus of a protest by campaign group Fathers 4 Justice for the second time.

Fifteen fathers wearing white contamination outfits stormed the offices of Parker Bird solicitors in Queen Street, Huddersfield with sirens blaring, whistles blowing and flags waving.

Police were called but no arrests were made.

Campaigners claim they had given the firm a Golden Petrol Can award.

Local members of the Fathers 4 Justice group voted the firm the outright winner of the award in Huddersfield because of its `major contribution in the pouring petrol on the flames in divorce and childcare cases'.

The protesters claim the firm helps prevent fathers from maintaining their parental responsibilities and abuses the human rights of children and fathers in Huddersfield.

Three weeks ago the protesters daubed graffiti on the walls of Parker Bird with the words `Fathers 4 Justice', `F4J here to stay' and `Child thieves'.

During yesterday's latest protest 10 men entered the building. The door was locked behind them leaving five protesters outside chanting and waving flags until police arrived.

One of the spokesmen, Andy Lindley, said they were part of the national protest group campaigning for equal rights for fathers.

"We want fathers to continue to be parents. If couples get a divorce it should not mean that fathers also divorce from their children.

"We feel that many solicitors manipulate family law against fathers."

The protest group now has 10,000 members nationally and had held high-profile protests in recent weeks to highlight their situation.

"I want my wife to be as much a mum to our children as I want to be a dad," said Mr Lindley.

Paul Midgley, Yorkshire co-ordinator of Fathers 4 Justice, said the starting position for a couple in terms of gaining access to their children should be 50:50. As it stands now our starting point is nothing.

One of the protesters, speaking through a loudspeaker, said: "Depriving a child access to a caring, loving father amounts to emotional child abuse."

Karen Woodhead, head of family law at Parker Bird, was unavailable for comment.

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