The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said that if they arrested pro-Palestinian protestors for climbing war memorials then this would illegal.
Sir Mark Rowley said that pro-Palestinian protesters move is “unfortunate” and it is “inflammatory in certain ways,” but it is not against the law.
Sir Mark said that the police cannot be “pandering to public opinion” and they must be allowed to enforce the law impartially.
The new Home Secretary James Cleverly has suggested that the police could be provided with new powers to protect war memorials.
Sir Mark was asked about the police response after protesters scaled the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London last night.
The Met Police chief responded, “What the officer didn’t do last night was make up a law that it’s illegal to do something and do an arrest which would have been illegal, clearly.”
He defended the actions of officers and said their actions was “sensible” considering the circumstances, he added, “The officers intervened, as officers often are doing, to try and de-escalate risk of conflict, even when there isn’t explicit power to do it.”
Cleverly who is a former Army Office in the Royal Artillery told LBC, “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 ITV’s Good Morning Britain, “These, and the police have said this are deeply disrespectful actions.
“The war memorials recognise the sacrifice people have made for our freedom, and abusing, desecrating behaviour like this is deeply, deeply offensive.
“I will look at what further measures need to be taken so the police can take action on this.”