Two fathers' rights protesters scale London's Westminster Abbey

Two fathers' rights campaigners scaled Westminster Abbey on Thursday in a protest over divorced dads' access to their children, a protest group said.

Real Fathers 4 Justice said the two men had climbed 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 meters) up the medieval landmark.

Tourists and passers-by stopped to take pictures of the men, who carried a dummy on a cross and a banner reading "Crucified by the state, ignored by the church."

Mike Kelly, who identified himself as one of the protest organizers, said the men were appealing to the Church of England to intervene on behalf of fathers.

"We want the church to come out with a statement. We want them to come out and say a child needs both parents, provided they are both decent people," he told reporters.

Terrence Bates, 45, a member of the group, said fathers are being "increasingly crucified" by family law courts. Campaigners accuse the courts of unfairly denying men access to their children.

"Why are they standing around doing nothing while this social chaos goes on?" Bates said.

London's Metropolitan Police said officers were attempting to coax the men down.

"The law needs to be changed to sympathize with fathers whose wives stop them from seeing their children," said Doug Collins, 37, a campaigner from Burton upon Trent, a town in central England, watching the scene.

Phil Green, 29, of Guilford, a town in southern England, was among others who paused to observe the protesters.

"The cause is right, but the way they're going about it is wrong," he said. "You need to go through the proper route."

Real Fathers 4 Justice is a splinter group of a defunct organization that campaigned for changes to child custody laws. The original group staged a series of attention-grabbing stunts including hurling purple powder at Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons but said it was disbanding in January following allegations that extremist members were plotting to kidnap Blair's 5-year-old son Leo, reports AP.


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