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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 15:04 GMT
Spiderman cordon criticised
David Chick as Spiderman
Mr Chick is dressed as Spiderman - his daughter's favourite character
Police have been criticised for keeping a cordon in place around Tower Bridge after a man climbed a crane to protest about fathers' rights.

Officers closed approach roads to the bridge after David Chick scaled a 120 foot crane dressed as Spiderman on Friday.

The 36-year-old, who entered his fourth day of the protest on Monday, has said he intends to stay up there for a week.

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

On Monday two specialist police climbers went half way up the crane to talk to Mr Chick about the increased danger he was putting himself in.

In the extra 20 minutes you spend in traffic think about this - one child will lose contact with their father in that time
Matt O'Connor, Fathers 4 Justice
Roads surrounding the bridge remain closed which means traffic is forced to take long diversions.

Former Conservative minister David Mellor, who lives nearby, told BBC London that the bridge should be re-opened.

"That man can jump 20 feet, but the police have put out a cordon which is really bringing the whole of east London to a halt.

"It's ludicrous. Thousands of people are being inconvenienced because the police lack any common sense and there isn't a politician who can tell them what to do.

"If you have a burglary in your street you won't see a policeman. Why? Because they are dealing with a serious incident on a crane in St. Katharines Dock."

Fathers 4 Justice, a campaign group for fathers' rights, said Mr Chick had offered to allow the crane driver onto the machinery in order to move the arm around so it does not overhang surrounding roads.

Roads closed around Tower Bridge
Police said the cordon will be lifted when Mr Chick is safely down
To the people inconvenienced by Mr Chick's action, Matt O'Connor, founder of the group, said: "In the extra 20 minutes you spend in traffic think about this - one child will lose contact with their father in that time.

"At the end of today a further 100 kids will lose contact with their fathers.

"Do you really think a man is going to climb a 120 foot 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 who he hasn't seen in eight months?"

Police have said it is too dangerous to force Mr Chick down.

Chief Inspector Richard Walford told BBC London: "We don't want to do this, we apologise for any inconvenience caused to the business community and residents of London.

"As soon as we can possibly open the roads we will do so.

"This is out of our hands, it's in the hands of the demonstrator. He knows what he is doing, he knows what his actions are and he knows that as soon as he safely comes down from the crane we will then open the cordon."

Mr Chick said he chose to wear a Spiderman costume because he is his daughter's favourite comic book hero.

Spiderman 'on crane for a week'
01 Nov 03  |  London
Rally over fathers' rights
22 Oct 03  |  London

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