Poppy seller leaves Waverley station amid Palestine protest

Poppy seller is forced to pack up and leave Waverley station in Edinburgh as hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters stage concourse sit in – after collectors were surrounded by chanting crowd at Charing Cross amid calls for ban on rallies on Armistice Day

Poppy sellers at Edinburgh’s main railway station had to pack up and leave early due to a rowdy pro-Palestine protest over the weekend. 

Hundreds of demonstrators occupied Edinburgh Waverley as part of a ‘sit-in’ on Saturday afternoon –  causing chaos at the busy travel hub. 

Earlier a poppy seller had shared a photo from the station and praised the ‘generous people’ who had come to her stall. 

The Scottish Poppy Appeal later told the Scottish Daily Express that a collection stall at Waverley station was forced to pack up early due to the protest. 

It came as protesters were seen surrounding British Legion poppy sellers during another sit-in protest on Saturday at Charing Cross in London. 

Hundreds of demonstrators occupied Edinburgh Waverley as part of a ‘sit-in’ on Saturday afternoon – causing chaos at the busy travel hub

It came as protesters were seen surrounding British Legion poppy sellers during another sit-in protest on Saturday at Charing Cross in London 

Mounted officers surround the Cenotaph war memorial on Whitehall on Saturday  

The shameful scenes prompted condemnation from veterans minister Johnny Mercer, who offered to ‘rattle a tin’ with three volunteers involved. 

Edinburgh Green councillor Alys Mumford told BBC Scotland the gathering at Waverley was ‘spontaneous’ and ‘peaceful’ after police interrupted a marching route.

‘I’ve been involved in Palestinian peace activism since 2008 and this is the biggest I’ve seen for a long time in Edinburgh,’ she said. 

READ MORE: Dismayed poppy sellers surrounded by pro-Palestinian protesters, a crowd chanting ‘shame on you’ at child leaving McDonald’s and tube passengers shouting ‘smash the Zionist state’ – as Met makes 29 arrests 

At Glasgow Central, demonstrators held banners reading ‘it’s not conflict, it’s genocide’ before marching to the headquarters of BBC Scotland. 

On Sunday, a vigil was held outside the Scottish Parliament to remember Israelis who had been taken hostage by Hamas.   

Dozens of red heart-shaped balloons were tied to shoes. 

Organisers said the vigil was not political and also sought to recognise the Palestinians who had been caught up in the conflict.

The vigil encouraged people to stop and look at the individual pictures and details of the hostages.

A major pro-Palestine protest is planned in central London on Armistice Day, leading to concerns it could disrupt commemorative events.

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has the option to write to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and ask her to approve a ban on a protest if there is a risk of serious disorder.

But the force has yet to commit to doing so and last night said: ‘We are keeping the possible use of this legislation under constant review.’

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the march.

He said there had been ‘hateful conduct’ at previous marches in the capital and he was worried this weekend’s planned protests could become violent. 

Sergeant Jay Baldwin, 38, who lost his legs in Afghanistan , was among those calling for the demonstration to be called off

Former Staff Sergeant Wayne Ingram, 54, said of the Armistice Day march: ‘I feel disgusted that these protests are going ahead’

Pro-Palestine protesters stage a sit-in protest at Charing Cross in London on Saturday  

Sergeant Jay Baldwin, 38, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, is among those calling for the demonstration to be called off.

He told The Sun: ‘What is happening in the Middle East is terrible. 

‘But next weekend is when we remember those who have fallen whilst defending our freedom and our life as it is today — it’s not a time for political demos.’

Former Staff Sergeant Wayne Ingram, 54, said: ‘I feel disgusted that these protests are going ahead. 

READ MORE – The authorities must find the courage to postpone the Armistice day march, writes former Colonel PHILIP INGRAM 

‘Those who are taking part must show some respect for our veterans.’

It comes after police were forced to close Charing Cross station in central London on Saturday when pro-Palestine protesters occupied the concourse.

Four officers were injured near Trafalgar Square by masked activists who shot fireworks at them.

And 29 people were arrested for offences including inciting racial hatred and assaulting a police officer. 

Last night the Met said six people had been charged with public order offences.

Scotland Yard also said it had ‘received intelligence that a pamphlet purported to support Hamas was on sale’ at the protest.

It said a man was arrested yesterday after allegedly being heard making anti-Semitic comments in Parliament Square.

Mr Dowden said: ‘There is hateful conduct in those marches. 

‘You have had those chants of things like jihad – they are an affront not just to the Jewish community, they should be an affront to all of British society.

‘And I think all of us should be calling out that kind of thing, and I think people who are on those marches need to ask themselves whether they are lending support to that kind of thing.’

Thousands of activists holding ‘free Palestine’ banners in Trafalgar Square on Saturday  

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has the option to write to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and ask her to approve a ban on a protest if there is a risk of serious disorder (File Photo)

Police push demonstrators back as they attempt to prevent police vans from leaving the scene of a protest in central London over the weekend 

Labour defence spokesman John Healey said the rally should be allowed to go ahead if the protesters were respectful. 

‘In a democracy like ours the right to free speech and protest is fundamental but there has to be a respect for the Remembrance service, for all cenotaphs and memorials, for the two minutes’ silence on Saturday, not just the Remembrance parade on Sunday,’ he added.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others involved in the Armistice Day march due to be held on November 11 have pledged to keep the route away from Whitehall and the Cenotaph and will meet police chiefs again today for further talks.

READ MORE – Boris Johnson visits kibbutz where Hamas massacred Israeli civilians

The march is also not expected to start until 12.45pm, almost two hours after the two-minute silence to commemorate soldiers killed in the First World War and subsequent conflicts.

But there are fears groups could splinter from the main crowd and clash with Right-wing counter-protesters who plan to surround the Cenotaph. The following day – November 12, Remembrance Sunday – the King and other members of the Royal Family will lead the nation in a national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph.

The Met said thousands of officers would be deployed, insisting that anyone intent on causing disruption would not succeed.

A spokesman said: ‘As in recent weeks, we have been speaking to the organisers of the pro-Palestine march… We will continue to speak to them. 

We fully appreciate the national significance of Armistice Day. Thousands of officers will be deployed in an extensive security operation and we will use all powers and tactics at our disposal to ensure that anyone intent on disrupting it will not succeed.’ 

Mrs Braverman had described Saturday’s upcoming rally as a ‘hate march’. In response to a tweet from the Prime Minister in which Rishi Sunak referred to the plans as ‘provocative and disrespectful,’ Mrs Braverman wrote: ‘It is entirely unacceptable to desecrate Armistice Day with a hate march through London.’ 

Another day of angry demonstrations on Saturday saw fireworks fired at police officers on Trafalgar Square  

Mr Dowden said he continued to be surprised the same abhorrence shown toward most forms of racism did not seem to have been applied to anti-Semitism.

He added: ‘I am a bit disappointed that if you look at the moral indignation and the clarity that we saw after the murder of George Floyd in the United States with the Black Lives Matter movement, we haven’t seen, across civic society, the same kind of moral clarity showing Jewish lives matter.’ 

Demonstrators have threatened to occupy more rail stations in the capital this weekend after more than 30,000 people descended on Trafalgar Square on Saturday, some chanting anti- Israeli songs and held anti- Semitic placards.

Some shouted the slogan ‘from the river to the sea’ and one held a banner with the message ‘If I don’t steal it somebody else is going to steal it – Israeli proverb’.

A woman was also seen holding a placard bearing an image of the Star of David being thrown in a dustbin.

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