Poppy-selling veteran says he was punched when pro-Palestine protesters stormed train station

Henderson/rally at Edinburgh Waverly

Around 1,200 protestors took part in the rally

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 07/11/2023

- 07:34

Updated: 07/11/2023

- 11:32

Jim Henderson said he was attacked when trying to leave Edinburgh Waverly station

A British army veteran who was selling poppies at a train station says he was punched and kicked when pro-Palestine protestors staged a rally.

Jim Henderson, who served with the army in Northern Ireland, said he was attacked when trying to leave Edinburgh Waverly station.

The 78-year-old decided to pack up when the crowds became too busy but was soon pushed over.

He said: “I was getting shoved backwards, in danger of falling, and one of them stood on my foot and split my toe, so I thought I had got to get the money out of here.

WATCH NOW: Pro-Palestine rally at London Liverpool Street

“So, I went down, and as I bent down someone punched me in the back.

“And then I got another punch in my side.”

The attack only ended when railway staff intervened and shoved the demonstrators away.

Henderson added: “I’ve never known anything like it. Chanting. Saying it’s all about the British Government.”

Around 1,200 protestors took part in a sit-in at the station after police blocked their protest route.

The demonstrators shouted “ceasefire now” and “free Palestine” as they mobilised to protest against the Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Henderson, who served in the Royal Corps of Signals during the Troubles, told the Daily Mail that he believes he was attacked on purpose: “You don't do that, and kick someone from behind and that was when I couldn't get out of the way. That's when I bent down and...bang.”



Henderson served in the Royal Corps of Signals during the Troubles


Veterans minister Johnny Mercer said the poppy was not a political symbol and chastised the protestors for their actions. He said they should make their arguments elsewhere “without appearing to try to intimidate ordinary citizens trying to collect a bit of cash”.

Edinburgh Waverly Station was eventually shut down by police whilst the rally continued to take place.

Condemning the protestors, MP Chris Philp said: "This is disgraceful. Our veterans made huge sacrifices to secure our freedom. I hope the cowardly thugs who did this are arrested by Police Scotland and then prosecuted. This kind of behaviour has no place in the UK."

Pro-Palestine demonstrators have stormed other train stations across the country as part of their campaign.

Last week, Free Palestine activists staged a protest in St Pancras train station during rush hour.

A group of Jewish demonstrators demanding an end of Israel's bombing of Gaza took to the main concourse of the busy North London station.

Edinburgh Waverly station during the protest

The 78-year-old decided to pack up when the crowds became too busy but was soon pushed over


Some users praised the demonstrations, writing "respect to them", and another said: "Absolute solidarity with those taking part to call for PEACE."

Whilst others criticised the protestors, stating: "Why not go to a place of worship for prayer, so people trying to get to work or visit sick loved ones, etc can go about their business in peace.

"No common sense. Blocking everyone else go about their business is selfish and disrespectful. Those wishing to express their feelings can do so, but not at the detriment to everyone else," the user continued.

A few days prior, London Liverpool Street station was locked down as protesters staged a sit-down demonstration during rush hour.

People could be heard chanting: “What do we want? Ceasefire. When do we want it? Now.”

People took to social media to vent their fury, with one user commenting: “People trying to get home from work. Absolute joke this is! Police more concerned about people filming on their phones!!”

Another added: “Getting out of hand now, disrupting people’s lives. Something will have to be done.”

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