Scuffles have broken out in Scotland amid confrontations and reports of voter intimidation on the final day of an increasingly passionate campaign for independence. Andy Murray, Scotland’s most celebrated athlete, joined a dramatic late surge for voting Yes on independence with a rallying cry on the eve of the historic referendum. “Let’s do this!” he declared. The tennis star’s unexpected change of heart has been replicated by hundreds of thousands of Scots who, according to polls, have swung behind independence in the last month, ratcheting up the tension ahead of polling day on Thursday. The battle to secure a fully independent Scotland for the first time in more than 300 years reached dramatic new heights on the final night of campaigning when there was a stand-off between rival supporters in Glasgow, while a heavy police presence monitored the melee in Edinburgh. Street and police confirmed one arrest outside a polling station. Both sides accuse the other of bullying tactics.
“Vote Yes or Else!” was written on a polling station in the Dumbarton district on Thursday. The local Labour member of Scottish parliament, Jackie Baillie, described the appearance of the graffiti as “Shocking behavior from yes campaigners. [They] should not be trying to threaten and intimidate.” A poll published this week revealed that 46 percent of no voters have felt “personally threatened” by their boisterous opponents.
One young voter told The Daily Beast he had been too frightened even to tell his friends which way he was voting. Another, Cristina Adams, 19, said: “I just hope Scotland doesn’t tear itself apart. I have a feeling it’s going to be carnage.”
Under dreary skies, Yes campaigners awoke on Thursday worried that the momentum behind their campaign appeared to be faltering just short of realizing their dream of following the likes of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, who fought for independence from England in the 14th century. The final opinion polls suggest the No campaign is hanging on to a slender lead, 52-48, but thousands of undecided voters could change that.