London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via ABC News
Two activists allied with a fathers’ rights group in the United Kingdom have been arrested after scaling the roof of a building in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, a London residence of Queen Elizabeth II, ABC News reported on Monday.
The two men climbed up one of the buildings and remained on the roof for several hours before eventually returning to ground where they were met by police. The security breach occurred at the Queen’s Gallery, which holds the royal art collection and is a separate building with its own entrance away from the main parts of the palace.
The Queen and Prince Philip were not at Buckingham Palace at the time, it was reported.
The two men are members of Fathers for Justice, a UK group protesting against what they consider the unfair and biased treatment of fathers by family courts and the justice system. In its heyday a decade ago, Fathers for Justice activists, many whom were fathers denied access to their children after divorces or separations, regularly mounted protests dressed in superhero costumes and unveiled banners urging greater rights for fathers.
They allegedly breached royal security by ‘creating a distraction’ and then climbing a ladder. Another Fathers for Justice activist told television network ITV that entering the palace grounds was ‘easy’ and that he could have ‘gone further’.
There have been several security lapses at Buckingham Palace over the years, including one in 2004 also involving a fathers’ rights protest, during which a man in a Batman costume climbed the façade of the Palace.
In 2003, Prince William’s 21st birthday costume party at Windsor Castle was gate-crashed by a man dressed in a pink dress as Osama bin Laden.
In the same year a newspaper reporter with UK tabloid the Daily Mirror obtained a job with the royal household posing as a footman.