By ANTONIO BRADLEY - The Manawatu Standard
Last updated 12:00 03/10/2009
Fathers' rights were shouted to the streets of Palmerston North yesterday.
Five placard-waving people protested against the Family Court's systems outside the Palmerston North court house.
Protester and anti-Family Court activist Benjamin Easton said he wanted better representation for non-custodial fathers, whom he claimed were treated unfairly by the court system.
People passing the protest stopped and talked. Some signed the placards in support with messages such as "it's not fair" and "good luck".
Others called the megaphone slogans noise pollution.
As part of their protest, four other protesters went into the court house and sat on the floor.
Staff told them they could not protest inside the court or outside the main entrance's steps. The protesters complied with their request to move.
Mr Easton said non-custodial fathers loved their children, but court-ordered separations could smash fathers' lives in an instant.
"Bang! Bye bye son. Bang! Bye bye daughter," he shouted through a megaphone.
Mr Easton had an unhappy experience with the Family Court in 2000.
Two of Mr Easton's fellow protesters said separation from their children led some men to depression, alcoholism and even suicide.
"It just haunts you," one supporter said.
"You can't escape it."
Palmerston North Courthouse manager Marcus Vettise said he was advised of Mr Easton's "Paint the Complaint" protest in advance.
"We take a neutral stance ... people have a right to freedom of expression."