22-Year-Old Trees Himself To Protest Mandatory Military Service
Oct. 14, 1996
TOULOUSE, France (AP) _ Thomas Santini has gone out on a limb _ literally _ to protest the military service required of all young Frenchmen.
Santini, a 22-year-old conscientious objector, on Monday began living on a platform in a tree across the street from the main courthouse in this southern city.
Santini said he planned to stay for 48 hours to protest the requirement that all able-bodied young men serve 20 months in the army. He'll climb back down Wednesday, when he must appear before a military tribunal.
In addition to refusing to serve in the army, Santini has declined to spend 20 months doing the alternative civil duties assigned to conscientious objectors.
Santini built his makeshift apartment with help from the local Conscientious Objectors Committee and a group known as Planet in Danger.
Staying in a tree is not as uncomfortable as it sounds. The tree house is equipped with a table, a small refrigerator and an armchair _ and a tiny passageway leads to a small bathroom with a toilet and wash basin.