AN ELDERLY pro-independence campaigner has told how he was hospitalised in a vicious assault by a “monstrous woman”.
James McMillan, 80, was thrown to the ground while singing in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, last week.
The pensioner had been entertaining passers-by with independence-themed hymns while holding a Yes Campaign placard, when he was attacked.
It is thought that the attack is the first time the independence referendum has come to physical blows.
The pensioner suffered a broken wrist as well as severe bruising and a cut to his head.
Mr McMillan who had been living in Canada returned to the capital three years ago with wife Gillian.
The attack took place last Tuesday outside the John Knox House.
Before the woman threw Mr McMillan to the ground, he said that she wrestled his placard, which read “Time to get rid of the scourge of the Normans. Sign up to the Yes side,” off of him.
After throwing the sign to the ground the woman then pushed Mr McMillan causing him to fall.
However, despite his ordeal, Mr McMillan who recently returned to Scotland from Canada, said that he will continue to sing and campaign “even if I’m in a wheelchair.”
Mr McMillan said that the attack shows that the referendum has got people “rattled.”
The pensioner said: “This makes it clear to me the Yes campaign has got them rattled.
“I was talking to two guys when all of a sudden this monstrous woman – who was around 5ft 9ins and about three foot across – came barrelling at me from out of a shop.
She grabbed hold of my placard and then pushed me over. As I lay on the ground I looked up at her and she had a look on her face like, ‘My God…what have I done?’
“I’ve been waving my placard and singing my songs around the city for the past few months and have never had a confrontation like this. I think it goes to show that the unionists are fearful of us because we have them on the run.
“Even if I’m in a wheelchair I’ll continue to head out and campaign. This has only served to make me more determined.”
A Royal Mile resident who witnessed the attack said: “This woman came storming out of a shop, snatched his placard and then turned to walk away. The guy went to grab his sign back and she pushed him.
“She was quite a big woman so he went flying. He had a cut on his head and looked a little concussed.”
Police Scotland have confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the attack, and are using CCTV footage to identify the attacker.
Detective Constable James Philp, of Police Scotland, confirmed they are probing the attack.
He said: “We know that a small crowd had been watching him sing, so we are appealing for any witnesses to this incident to come forward.”