French dad abandons crane protest

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iol news pic France crane protest

REUTERS

Frenchman Serge Charnay prepares to climb down from a crane in Nantes, western France, February 18, 2013. Charnay, who has been at the top of a crane since Friday, has refused to come down from the crane until authorities re-examined his child's visitation rights. Banner reads, "Benoit Two years without Dad". REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Paris - A divorced French father who has been prevented from seeing his son abandoned a four-day vigil on top of a crane Monday after a government official agreed to a meeting with fathers who have lost access to their children.

Serge Charnay, 42, has become a standard-bearer for separated fathers seeking to spend more time with their children after he climbed the crane in the city of Nantes.

One of his demands had been a meeting with a government official. Once Justice Minister Christiane Taubira agreed to such a meeting, he abandoned his perch.

The unemployed computer technician lost his visitation rights in 2011, after taking his son away for two months without the mother's approval. A lawyer for the mother said he had also lost his visitation rights after threatening the mother.

On Friday morning he climbed a crane in an abandoned shipyard to draw attention to his case.

“Benoit, two years without daddy,” read a banner draped across the crane. Police provided him with water, but he spent much of his vigil without food.

Dozens of separated fathers rallied at the foot of the crane Sunday to show support for Charnay. Many accuse the French justice system of disregarding father's rights. - Sapa-dpa


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