MEMBERS of a fathers’ rights group are planning to confront Alex Salmond during a football match at Tynecastle and climb on the roofs of some the Capital’s “prominent buildings” as part of their latest protest.
Campaign group New Fathers 4 Justice, which champions rights for fathers and grandparents in the face of a family breakdown, is set to stage its first major event in Scotland for several years this Thursday, which will include scaling some of the city’s landmarks if they are “prevented from doing other [more peaceful] things”.
A spokesman for the group also revealed that “between now and the New Year” some members intended to track down Alex Salmond and “cause chaos” during one of his visits to watch Hearts after they received information about his route to the stadium.
Their first demonstration, from 9am on December 1, includes a march to the Scottish Parliament and up the Royal Mile wearing superhero and Santa costumes.
Spokesman Richard Adams stressed their wish to conduct a “peaceful protest”, but he pointed out that they were willing to climb roofs if they are prevented from carrying out their initial plans.
He said: “That’ll be the back-up situation if we are prevented from doing other things, if it is our only option. We’d prefer to keep this peaceful, although you could quite easily see one or two dads on a building. This is our first major protest in Scotland since 2005 and we have people travelling from all over the country. It is to support fathers and grandparents who don’t see their child or grandchild. Christmas is such a tough time.
“We’ll walk towards the Parliament as we know Alex Salmond will be inside for question time. We are calling on him to support fathers, to support a presumption of contact if the child is not at risk.”
Protesters are assembling at the car park at Abbey Lane, Abbeyhill, from 9am. They will then march down to Holyrood and demonstrate outside the Parliament before moving up the Royal Mile. Mr Adams added that a small number of members would meet elsewhere in case police decided to use “strong-arm tactics”.
He pointed out that the Hearts ambush would take place at a later date. He said: “That protest is slightly separate. Somebody well connected to the club who supports our cause has told us when he [Salmond] is there and we have been provided with a map of how he gets to the stadium.
“We are not targeting Hearts, we are targeting Alex Salmond. We want him to say he supports more rights for fathers and grandparents when a family breakdown happens. It’s all about equality and asking why a father doesn’t have that equality.”
Jimmy Deuchars, a campaigner for grandparents’ rights, added: “At Christmas time we get such sad stories building up from grandparents who are not allowed to see their grandchildren. Some grandparents have a room full of presents which they save in the hope that they’ll see them someday.”