Police say there is insufficient evidence to arrest anyone for 'repulsive' assault on army veteran poppy seller during Palestine protest

Thursday 9 November 2023

Police say there is not enough evidence to arrest anyone after an army veteran selling poppies was assaulted during a Palestine protest in Edinburgh.

On Saturday, Jim Henderson, 78, said he was punched as he tried to leave the city's Waverley Station as hundreds of protesters gathered to voice their opposition to Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

Mr Henderson who served in the Royal Corps of Signals, 32 Signal Regiment in Northern Ireland, said the assault happened during the rally while he ran a Poppyscotland stall at the station.

Video shot by @RaggedTP shows Mr Henderson surrounded by protesters in the busy station.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: "Detectives have extensively monitored CCTV and spoken with key identified witnesses. There is insufficient evidence to take the investigation further at this time.

“We have no reason to believe that poppy sellers are at any risk or being intentionally targeted.”

Jim Henderson pays respects during Remembrance Day in 2020

Mr Henderson had told the Daily Mail in Scotland: “I was getting shoved backwards, in danger of falling, and one of them stood on my foot and split my toe.

“I thought I had got to get the money out of here. So I went down, and as I bent down someone punched me in the back. And then I got another punch in my side.”

A spokesperson for Rishi Sunak said: “This was a repulsive act. Mr Henderson, like all our veterans, has made huge sacrifices for our country.

“We are confident the police will treat this incident very seriously and use the full force of the law available to them.”

Julia Hartley-Brewer insisted poppy seller veteran Henderson is her hero of the week, saying. "I think people were really shocked by that... it's absolutely horrific."

Fears are growing that counter protesters could clash with pro-Palestinian marchers on Armistice Day ahead of planned protest.

Organisers of Saturday’s demonstration have so far defied calls from police not to go ahead, amid anger among senior ministers, Conservative MPs and others over the decision to hold the event ahead of Remembrance Sunday.