The Metropolitan Police says no laws were broken by pro-Palestine protesters who climbed on a war memorial.

The protesters climbed on the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner after a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday evening. A video posted online of people on the memorial sparked criticism, but a statement from the police said the protesters had not broken any laws by their actions.

The statement said: “We know some online have asked why the protesters were not arrested.

“There is no law explicitly making it illegal to climb on a memorial so officers cannot automatically arrest, but they can intervene and make it clear the behaviour isn’t acceptable. The videos shared online show them doing that.”

Police said the protesters who climbed on the memorial were a breakaway group who had been dispersed at Hyde Park Corner. The statement said: “Most people would agree that to climb on or otherwise disrespect a war memorial is unacceptable

“That is why our officers have made every effort to prevent it happening in recent days. While officers were on scene quickly, we regret they were not there quickly enough to prevent the protesters accessing the memorial.”

A dispersal order was in place across parts of the City of Westminster from 7.50pm on Wednesday to 2am on Thursday. Police said one arrest had been made at the protest for possession of an offensive weapon.

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