Pro-Palestinian protester scales Hyde Park war memorial but Met says no laws were broken – latest
Four shadow ministers have resigned in protest.
‘No laws’ were broken when pro-Palestinian protesters climbed on the Royal Artillery Memorial in London on Wednesday evening.
The Metropolitan Police said officers were ‘powerless’ against the demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament, sparking a debate about possible changes to legislation.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said police recognised that while the climbing on a war memorial was not illegal, it was ‘unfortunate’ and ‘inflammatory in certain ways’.
He said it was for the government to consider if officers should be given further powers to respond to protests.
‘The officer recognised that while it wasn’t illegal it was unfortunate, inflammatory in certain ways. The officers at the scene asked them to get down and they did,’ he said.
‘So the officers intervened as officers often do to try and de-escalate risk of conflict, even when there isn’t an explicit power to do it. So I think they did a sensible thing.’
The Met said the protesters were part of a breakaway group who had been dispersed at Hyde Park Corner.
Home secretary James Cleverly, who was a Territorial Army officer in the Royal Artillery, said he would examine whether the police needed new powers.
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‘I’m not going to let my personal feelings cloud my judgment on this but it is clearly wrong, and the police have said that they recognise it is deeply disrespectful for people to climb on war memorials,’ he told LBC.
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