Scottish Police on Standby for Referendum Day Tension

Scottish police are ready to intervene should tension over the country’s future in the U.K. boil over as voters go to the polls tomorrow.

“Detailed plans have been developed to ensure that we can respond appropriately to any issues that may arise,” Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said in a statement today. “Policing arrangements are well in hand and will be appropriate and proportionate.”

While the campaign has so far generally been conducted peacefully, tensions are rising ahead of the vote. Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was jostled during a walkabout in a Edinburgh shopping mall on Sept. 16 and opponents of independence have complained of intimidation by “yes” supporters on the Internet and at rallies.

With the last day of campaigning under way before the ballot opens at 7 a.m., both sides are involved in last-minute attempts to win over undecided voters. Opinion polls last night showed the anti-independence campaign winning by 52 percent to 48 percent, excluding undecided voters.

“One thing that’s striking is the peaceful manner in which this is happening,” said Harris Mylonas, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University. “There’s verbal violence, but there is no deadly violence. My guess is a ‘no’ vote is more likely to lead to violent incidents than a ’yes’ vote.”

Police Scotland declined to give any further information about their plans.

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