Flour bomb fathers 'treated like terrorists'

Last updated at 10:14 20 May 2004

The two members of Fathers 4 Justice arrested yesterday after Prime Minister Tony Blair was hit by a flour bomb in the Commons are being treated like "terrorists" and should be released, the campaign group's founder said today.

Matt O'Connor said Ron Davis and Guy Harrison, said by police to be aged 50 and 36, had still not seen a solicitor since being detained yesterday lunchtime.

Speaking outside London's high security Paddington Green Police Station, where the two men are in custody, Mr O'Connor said there was no justification for their continued detention and claimed they were only being held for political reasons.

"The guys have been here since 12.20pm yesterday and they have not seen a legal representative," he said. "We have had a legal representative here since 4pm yesterday afternoon. We have had no contact with them at all.

"The Government, the authorities and the police, given the profile of the demonstration, are taking this very seriously and are treating the protesters as terrorists for throwing condoms filled with purple-coloured self-raising flour.

"There is no reason why these guys should be treated in such a way. They should be released. If they (the authorities) want to make an issue of this, we are happy to oblige."

Police station protest

Mr O'Connor suggested that, if the two men were not released today, Fathers 4 Justice could organise a protest outside the police station.

"If they continue to be held here today, we could organise a demonstration down here," he said. "We will take whatever action we deem necessary. My main priority is getting these guys out.

"I am hoping we will get some reasons from the police about why these guys are still being held. It can only be political because it is self-evident that it was self-raising flour."

Mr O'Connor said the group, which campaigns for improved access for divorced men to their children, was gearing up for a huge demonstration in London to coincide with Father's Day on June 18 and warned there would be more events in the coming week.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said two men remain in custody this morning in connection with yesterday's incident.

Mr Davis, of Worthing, West Sussex, and Mr Harrison, of Steyning, West Sussex, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of criminal damage.

Mr O'Connor indicated that a solicitor instructed by the group would be arriving at around 9am in the hope of seeing the two men this morning.

He said he understood from police that they had already been questioned but said he did not know how they were or what they had said.

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