Fathers 4 Justice balcony protester arrested

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A FATHERS 4 Justice campaigner who staged a hotel balcony protest has been arrested after setting off the sprinkler in his room.

The man, named by the group as Martyn Judd, appeared on his third-floor balcony dressed as
superhero character Nite Owl from the Hollywood movie Watchmen.

He booked himself in as a guest at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, before unfurling a banner from the railings outside his room reading “Equal rights, equal parents, equal love: We are Fathers 4 Justice”.

The group had reported on its social media Twitter feed that the man was “threatening to jump”, and at one point climbed over the balcony railing, although he later climbed back.

About 20 protesters from the campaign had gathered outside the building to support the protest.

West Midlands Police said it sent officers to the scene as a precaution but no specialist police negotiator was dispatched.

The campaigner was staging his protest at the hotel, near the city’s National Exhibition Centre, while it was hosting a meeting of the family justice young people’s board.

The board is made up mainly of children who have been through the family court system and was set up by Cafcass, which represents children in family proceedings.

Fathers 4 Justice has been critical of Cafcass in the past.

A spokesman for Cafcass said it had been made aware of a planned “direct action process” ahead of the event and had stepped up security as a precaution.

A young people’s board spokesman added the group had “worked hard to bring today together.”

A West Midlands Police spokesman said a 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

“The sprinklers in his hotel room had been set off and when the man came down from the balcony of his own accord, he was arrested.”

A spokesman for the hotel declined to comment on reports the protester may have incurred a charge for missing his checkout time.