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Egg-throwing and road rage as Scotland campaign heats up

AFP | Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

The Scottish saltire flag (L) and Union flag fly outside the Scottish Office, with the London Eye wheel seen behind, in central London August 28, 2014. British Prime Minister David Cameron will make the case for the economic benefits of Scotland staying in the United Kingdom on Thursday as a divided business community publicly take sides. With three weeks to go until a referendum on independence, 200 Scottish business leaders, including Stagecoach head Brian Souter and engineering tycoon Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers, joined forces in a letter published in Glasgow newspaper The Herald on Thursday backing Scotland's breakaway.

LONDON - Insults, egg-throwing and rage: the campaign ahead of Scotland's independence referendum is heating up, even forcing an intervention by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"There's nothing wrong with a bit of heckling but throwing things isn't necessarily part of the democratic process," Cameron said on Friday, after a "No" campaigner was pelted with eggs.

"I've always thought that it isn't right to throw eggs at people - I had one myself in Cornwall once, it's an interesting experience," the prime minister told reporters.

The victim of the egg attack was Jim Murphy, an ex-Europe minister and formerly the Scotland secretary in the British government.

Murphy said Friday he was temporarily suspending his grassroots tour, accusing the "Yes" campaign of employing intimidation tactics.

Pro-independence leader Alex Salmond also condemned the incident but said he too had been a victim of harassment, being chased by an angry driver brandishing a "No" sign.

"All politicians should beware, yes of course we call for good conduct, online and offline, yes of course we do," Scotland's first minister said.

"But don't confuse the actions of a few people with the 99.9 per cent of the people of Scotland who are enjoying the most invigorating, scintillating, exciting debate in our political history," said the Scottish National Party leader.

Earlier this week, Douglas Alexander, a top Scottish Labour politician, said the referendum was dividing Scotland after being branded a "liar" on a live radio phone-in.

Alexander, another former Europe minister, said the challenge would be to "bring Scotland together" after the vote and said he had been called "scum", a "quisling" and "Judas" after speaking out in favour of unity.

And Labour former British prime minister Gordon Brown was heckled at a "No" campaign meeting in Dundee earlier this week by a man shouting "absolute rubbish" and "vote 'Yes' for Scotland".

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