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French fathers climb 40-meter-high cranes, demand right to see their children (PHOTOS)

Published time: February 17, 2013 17:11
Edited time: February 17, 2013 23:51
By-standers watch Serge Charnay standing on a 43-meter crane on February 17, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)

By-standers watch Serge Charnay standing on a 43-meter crane on February 17, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)

Two fathers denied the right to see their children have climbed and occupied giant shipyard cranes in Nantes, France, and are demanding the review of their court decisions. One man has been camped out on the crane for two days.

Serge Charnay, 43, scaled one of the cranes on Friday morning. On the lower platform of the 40-meter-high structure Charnay unfurled a homemade banner with big block letters reading, “Benoît, two years without a dad.”

Charnay was not only denied custody of his son, but was also denied visiting rights two years ago after he was accused of kidnapping his child for taking him on a two-month vacation, instead of the one month allowed. Charnay also served a four-month prison term for the offense. He has demanded that the visitation prohibition be annulled. 

Crisis negotiators have been unable to get Charnay to come down from the crane. “I will stay here as long as it would take to obtain something significant. Review of the court decision… which destroyed my family and our lives!” Charnay said, according to Le Parisien.

The day after Charnay’s ascent, his friend in a similar situation followed suit and occupied another crane a few hundred meters away. 

“Father once = father forever” and “Fathers in trouble, fathers in solidarity” were written on banners put up by Nicolas Moreno, 34, who is in a legal battle for the right to see his two sons, Evan and Lucas. It’s not Moreno's first protest effort either: In November 2012, he went on a three-week-long hunger strike in front of the Valence court house.

“It’s an act of solidarity in support of the first father up on the crane, and in support of all fathers who want to take care of their children,” said Moreno’s mother, Brigitte, according to AFP.

Moreno spent several hours on the crane’s platform and climbed down Saturday evening. Charnay apparently remains determined to continue with his protest.

Charnay and Moreno’s protest will be supported by a demonstration for fathers’ rights scheduled to take place in Nantes on February 20.

Serge Charnay gives the thumbs up from a 43-meter crane on February 17, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Serge Charnay gives the thumbs up from a 43-meter crane on February 17, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
A man stands with a banner reading "Benoit 2 years old, without dad", as he entrenchs in a giant crane, on February 15, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
A man stands with a banner reading "Benoit 2 years old, without dad", as he entrenchs in a giant crane, on February 15, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
A man stands as he entrenches in a giant crane, on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
A man stands as he entrenches in a giant crane, on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Nicolas Moreno (C) reacts on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)
Nicolas Moreno (C) reacts on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)
Nicolas Moreno reacts on February 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)
Nicolas Moreno reacts on February 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)
Policemen look at the giant crane where Nicolas Moreno is entrenched, on February 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Policemen look at the giant crane where Nicolas Moreno is entrenched, on February 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Nicolas Moreno stands as he entrenches in a giant crane, on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Nicolas Moreno stands as he entrenches in a giant crane, on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Frank Perry)
Nicolas Moreno comes down from a giant crane on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)
Nicolas Moreno comes down from a giant crane on February 16, 2013 in Nantes.(AFP Photo / Jean-Sebastien Evrard)

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