Poppy sellers vanish from rail stations ahead of Armistice Day

Where have all the poppy sellers gone? Charity volunteers vanish from Britain’s busiest rail station ahead of Armistice Day after army veteran ‘attacked’ during pro-Palestine mob

Poppy sellers have disappeared from Britain’s busiest rail stations after a volunteer veteran said he was punched and kicked at a pro-Palestine rally as he tried to raise money for charity. 

Volunteers will not be returning to Liverpool Street Station in London staff confirmed after 500 people from the protest staged a sit in the busy train hub.

Workers at Victoria Station and Euston Station said no sellers had turned up since Monday, while a giant poppy at the entrance to King’s Cross station is also said to have been taken down.

Three lonesome volunteers remained at St Pancras station but one wore a bodycam, with the unnamed charity worker telling the Sun: ‘This is just part of our uniform now.’

The disappearance comes just days after Jim Henderson, a 78-year-old poppy seller who served in the Army in Northern Ireland during the troubles, said he was kicked and punched while manning a Poppyscotland stand in Edinburgh Waverly Station. 

Footage showed the volunteer in a distinctive red beret trying to escape as 1,200 demonstrators descended into the station protesting against Israel’s attacks on Gaza. 

Mr Henderson told the Mail ‘I was getting shoved backwards, in danger of falling, and one of them stood on my foot and split my toe,’ adding ‘I got another punch in my side’.

In a separate incident over the weekend three volunteers at a poppy stand in Charing Cross Station in London were surrounded by a gang of protesters. Photos show the brave volunteers continuing to sit in the station with a look of dismay as the demonstrators chanted around them. 

Last weekend, a trio of poppy sellers at Charing Cross Station in London were surrounded by pro-Palestine protesters 

Poppy-seller Jim Henderson, 78, said he was kicked and punched at Edinburgh Waverley on Saturday when a demonstration took place

Social media footage shows the 78-year-old trying to escape the huge swarm of demonstrators at Edinburgh Waverly Station 

Despite the chaos seen on Saturday, sellers returned to Charing Cross and Waterloo Station which has also been a spot for the pro-Palestine rallies, which on the whole have been peaceful with only a small majority causing violence. 

Commuters have expressed their upset following the poppy sellers retreat from their regular spots in stations.  

READ HERE: The Met Police WON’T ban Poppy Day pro-Palestine rally: Force Commissioner says Gaza event ‘does not meet the threshold’ to be outlawed despite fears of clashes and disruption with tens of thousands expected on London’s streets

Adam Hill, 54, from Lincoln, who was travelling trough King’s Cross told the paper yesterday: ‘I would have loved to buy a poppy here today. They used to be here for three weeks, but since Monday they have disappeared. It would be awful if they felt scared.’

Another commuter Laura Evans, 41, said: ‘It’s disgusting that it’s come to this. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in and there’s not enough police to protect everybody.’ 

A security worker added: ‘I’m not surprised. There’s been a tense atmosphere. They’ve decided to put safety first.’

MailOnline has contacted the Royal British Legion.  

The poppy sellers withdrawal has sparked a furious response from politicians with the Prime Minister saying he ‘appalled’ by the ‘intimidation and abuse’ some volunteers have experienced while at train stations.

Rishi Sunak said the police have his ‘full support to take action against this deplorable behaviour’ before thanking the ‘brave armed forces’ fort he work they do. 

The comments come as the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a pro-Palestine rally on Armistice Day could go ahead, with top cop Mark Rowley claiming he had ‘absolutely no power’ to ban the protest.

On Saturday more than 70,000 people are expected to head into the capital for the march which is taking place just hours after the Remembrance Day event taking place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Poppy sellers have since disappeared from some of Britain’s biggest train stations 

Staff working at the stations claim the volunteers are scared while another volunteer said they have to wear a bodycam 

The Metropolitan Police has said it cannot do anything about the pro-Palestine protest taking place on Armistice Day 

The PM offered a stark warning last weekend that there was a ‘clear and present risk’ that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be ‘desecrated’ during the march on Armistice Day. 

READ ALSO: Armistice Day under attack: Now JSO protest at the Cenotaph after poppy sellers were swamped by pro-Palestine rallies and forced to pack up and leave – as calls grow for ban on November 11 demonstrations

It led to patriotic protesters and veterans stood guarding the memorial in Whitehall while a pro-Palestinian demonstration – which had been largely peaceful – gathered a short walk away at Trafalgar Square. 

Fears were raised earlier this week that there could be violent clashes between marches and Right-wing groups. 

Groups of football hooligans are planning to join forces to ‘protect’ the Cenotaph from any protesters who veer from the official route, set to avoid Whitehall, the Mail Revealed.

One of the groups – Football Lads Against Extremism – claimed veterans have reached out and asked for support. 

It comes after EDL founder Tommy Robinson wrote ‘Saturday 11/11/11 London, your country needs you’, in one of his first posts after being allowed back on to X, formerly Twitter.

It came after Mr Sunak slammed the planned event as ‘disrespectful’ and Home Secretary Suella Braverman controversially called the rally a ‘hate march’. 

Last night Sir Mark said: ‘The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest, therefore there will be a protest this weekend,’ he insisted.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman doubled down on her description of the demonstrators as ‘hate marchers’ and describing their behaviour as ‘thuggish’

Metropolitan Police officers guard the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall following a row 

On Saturday patriotic protesters and veterans stood guarding the memorial in Whitehall while a pro-Palestinian demonstration – which had been largely peaceful – gathered a short walk away at Trafalgar Square

‘The law provides no mechanism to ban a static gathering of people. It contains legislation which allows us to impose conditions to reduce disruption and the risk of violence, and in the most extreme cases when no other tactics can work, for marches or moving protests to be banned.’

READ ALSO: PM brands attack on poppy seller ‘repulsive’ as police confirm they’re investigating

The Met Police Commissioner added that the organisers of Saturday’s protest  had shown ‘complete willingness to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall and have no intention of disrupting the nation’s remembrance events’.

‘Should this change, we’ve been clear we will use powers and conditions available to us to protect locations and events of national importance at all costs,’ Sir Mark said. 

Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer on terror laws, warned of a risk of ‘extreme Right-wing terrorist backlash’ if the rally went ahead, while former UKIP leader Nigel Farage accused the Met of being ‘gutless’ after failing to ban the event. 

Ever since Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7 – which has seen more than 1,400 killed and hundreds kidnapped – pro-Palestine groups have been holding marches throughout London.

Previous rallies have seen officers injured with fireworks, protesters holding up extremist imagery and multiple people arrested for anti-Semitic chanting.

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