Protesters who climb on war memorials to face three months in prison under new plans

Protesters who climb on war memorials could face three months in prison and a £1,000 fine under plans being proposed by the home secretary.

Announcing the plans, James Cleverly said ascending memorials was "an insult" and "cannot continue".

The cabinet minister vowed last year to look into giving police new powers to protect remembrance sites after pro-Palestinian protesters climbed on the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London following a demonstration outside parliament on 15 November.

Downing Street at the time described the behaviour as an "affront", but Metropolitan Police Sir Mark Rowley said arresting protesters for scaling the memorial would have been unlawful.

The Home Office said that, under the new plans, climbing on war memorials will become a specific public order offence.

It said the measure would "stop protesters disrespecting those who have given their lives for our country".

The announcement comes after 10,000 Palestinian supporters marched in central London on Saturday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Mr Cleverly, who was a Territorial Army officer in the Royal Artillery, said: "Recent protests have seen a small minority dedicated to causing damage and insulting those who paid the ultimate price for their freedom to protest.

"Peaceful protest is fundamental in our county, but climbing on our war memorials is an insult to these monuments of remembrance and cannot continue.

"That is why I am giving police the powers they need to ensure they have the tools to keep order and peace on our streets."

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The measure, designed to apply across England and Wales, is scheduled to be introduced as an amendment at the report stage of the Criminal Justice Bill in the House of Commons.

The proposal will form part of a wider plan, due to be unveiled this week, aimed at tackling disorder at protests, the Home Office said.