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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Palace protesters freed on bail
Jason Hatch
Jason Hatch was flanked by supporters as he left the station
Two fathers' rights protesters behind a security breach at Buckingham Palace have been released on police bail.

Jason Hatch, 32, and David Pyke, 48, will report back to police in December pending further inquiries and liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Hatch, who dressed as Batman to scale the palace on Monday, said: "It was easier to get to the Queen's balcony than to see my own children."

He added that he hoped his five-hour protest had raised public awareness.

"Hopefully my children have seen it and know I haven't gone away," added Mr Hatch.

Click here to see how the intruder reached the balcony

Leaning on a friend for support, an exhausted Mr Hatch said he had been frightened during the protest, but was determined to "stand and fight".

A security review now under way has started a political row after the home secretary defended police action.

Fathers 4 Justice spokesman Matt O'Connor said it was not for them to comment on security matters.

But he said the full "firepower" of the group's 10,000 members would be directed at the Labour Party, particularly as conference season begins.

"There's going to be on hell of a scrap between us and them in the run-up to the next election," he said.

Sept 2004: Protester David Chick, who is supported by F4J, scaled the London Eye
July 2004: F4J members disrupted a service and held a rooftop protest at York Minster
May 2004: Condoms full of purple flour were thrown at Tony Blair in the Commons
February 2004: Activists climbed bridges and gantries in Bristol, London and Newcastle
January 2004: One protester spent six nights on a gantry over Tamar Bridge, Plymouth
November 2003: 'Spiderman' sat on a 100ft crane near Tower Bridge for six days
May 2003: F4J began to grab headlines when masked men scaled a Plymouth family court

On Tuesday three police officers were seen standing at the spot where a ladder was used for Mr Hatch's ascent. His fellow campaigner Mr Pyke, who dressed as Batman's sidekick Robin, was stopped by armed police at the scene.

Mr Hatch, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Mr Pyke, 48, also from Cheltenham, was questioned about aiding and abetting a criminal act.

Following the incident Home Secretary David Blunkett argued the Met Police had "acted correctly" in assessing the threat posed by Mr Hatch.

Later he insisted that he was "calm but not complacent" about the intrusion and said there was no reason to demand resignations "for the sake of a 24-hour headline".

But shadow home secretary David Davis said his message to police would be: "Get your act together."

He told the BBC's Today programme: "This is a bunch of amateur protesters. What on earth would we be seeing if this had been a serious terrorist attack?"

In an earlier emergency statement to the Commons, Mr Blunkett had conceded that the speed with which the intruders were able to scale the wall was "of concern".

He said police would have shot the protester if he had been judged a terror risk.

Mr Blunkett said the government had followed the recommendations of MI5 after the September 11 attacks, but added he did not believe in having security which hid prominent buildings from the public.

1 Protesters create a diversion at the front gates of the palace.
2 "Batman" and "Robin" climb over low fence at side of palace grounds while security staff are distracted.
3 "Batman" climbs up a ladder on to the roof of an adjoining building. "Robin" comes down after police threaten to shoot him.
4 "Batman" shuffles from roof along ledge to the edge of the royal balcony, where he stages his high-profile protest.

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The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Security inside the fence will be a major focus of the first police report"

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