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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 16:31 GMT
Mayor blasts 'Spiderman' protest
David Chick as Spiderman
Mr Chick says he has been denied access to his daughter
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has condemned a campaigner whose protest in support of fathers' rights has caused commuter chaos.

Mr Livingstone said David Chick, who donned a Spiderman costume and climbed a crane near Tower Bridge on Friday morning, was "amply demonstrating" why "some men should not have access to their own children".

The protest has caused police to keep the bridge and surrounding roads closed to traffic since Friday.

They are due to be reopened on Tuesday afternoon after the mayor and Met police chief Sir John Stevens agreed the situation was "completely unacceptable".

Mr Chick, 26, of West Sussex, whose protest is part of a continuing campaign by Fathers 4 Justice, remained at the top of the 100ft (30.48 metres) crane for a fifth day on Tuesday.

He claims he has been refused access to his three-year-old daughter, despite a court order allowing him to see her.

Tower Bridge and surrounding roads were shut amid fears Mr Chick would fall because the crane was swinging in high winds.

We would not put up with it if it was Osama bin Laden
Ken Livingstone

But following conversations with the police, Mr Livingstone said he expected the roads to be reopened.

He said: "The idea that an individual can hold London to ransom is completely unacceptable. We would not put up with it if it was Osama bin Laden.

"I do not see why anyone would expect we would put with it for this man."

Traffic jams

The bridge is a major route for motorists crossing the River Thames and its closure has been causing 10-mile traffic jams during the evening rush hour.

"If anyone wanted to demonstrate that some men should not have access to their own children at their own will and whim, Mr Chick is amply demonstrating that women do not feel they always want their partners to have access to their children", said an unimpressed Mr Livingstone.

"He is a man who is putting his own life at risk, police officers at risk and other Londoners who may be passing along the road at risk.

Do you really think a man is going to climb a 120ft crane over Tower Bridge for the fun of it
Matt O'Connor
Fathers 4 Justice
"He is causing a huge inconvenience to Londoners and is not necessarily the role model one wants for one's children as they grow up - particularly since he also dresses in funny clothes."

But campaigners remained defiant.

Fathers 4 Justice founder Matt O'Connor said that Mr Chick was "determined to stay up for as long as possible".

He added that supporters of the protest could not understand why surrounding roads had been closed, saying that Mr Chick posed "no threat to the public".

"Spiderman has even offered to allow the crane driver on to move the arm around so it does not overhang the road," he said.

"Do you really think a man is going to climb a 120ft crane over Tower Bridge for the fun of it in wet, windy and near-freezing conditions for several days?

"Or is he doing it for the love of his daughter whom he hasn't seen in eight months?"

The BBC's George Eykyn
"Police attempts to talk him down have failed"

Tower Bridge 'to reopen'
04 Nov 03  |  London
Spiderman cordon criticised
03 Nov 03  |  London
Spiderman 'on crane for a week'
01 Nov 03  |  London

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