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Protesters who climb Britain's war memorials could face jail

FILE PHOTO: British Home Secretary James Cleverly outside 10 Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Protesters who climb Britain's war memorials could face three months in prison and a 1,000 pound ($1,260) fine under government plans to create a new criminal offence after incidents during pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Interior minister James Cleverly said that recent protests had featured "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," he said on Sunday.

The move would be part of a plan to strengthen police public order powers to be set out this week, the government said.

Regular, large demonstrations have taken place in London and other Western cities against Israel's bombardment of Gaza in response to a surprise Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants, which Israeli officials say killed more than 1,200 people.

A total of 27,365 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said on Sunday.

($1 = 0.7918 pounds)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Goodman)