Edinburgh’s Protest Stickers: Coronavirus

A stereotypically Scottish public health message on Leith Walk (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Protest stickers tend to reflect the issues that people care about. It should come as no surprise then that the coronavirus pandemic has emerged as a popular topic of stickers over the last 12 months. I have written about coronavirus protest stickers in Brighton, where I spent the first lockdown, but since I moved to Edinburgh I have found a whole new set of stickers, which have evolved as the pandemic has. From criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic, workers rights, and complaints from the city’s student population, through to questioning the efficacy of lockdowns and masks and even rejecting the existence of Covid-19, the stickers I have found over the last few months represent a range of conflicting views.

Although this sticker doesn’t explicitly mention Covid, it is in the same style as other stickers I found nearby that did directly mention the virus, so I am fairly confident that this sticker is refering to Covid rather any of the other things Boris Johnson has been criticised for over the last few years (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This is one of the other stickers in the same style. The text is faded, and it looks like someone tried to scratch it off at some point, but it says “Clapping isn’t enough.” The weekly Clap for Carers started out as a very popular gesture during the first Lockdown, but later was criticised for being just that, an empty gesture (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Many employees felt compelled to go back to work after the first lockdown, even if they were worried about their health. The No Safety No Work campaign is a new campaign to protect worker safety during Covid-19 run by the Anarchist Communist Group (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Another sticker promoting the No Safety No Work campaign. Again, there is no direct reference to Covid (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Another sticker produced by the Anarchist Communist Group calling for the redistribution of wealth. Many of those classified as key workers during the pandemic are poorly paid, and it has highlighted inequality in wages and income (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
As the pandemic has progressed the number of protests against Lockdowns and masks has increased. There is also a significant proportion of people who do not trust the vaccine. The Saving Scotland Party seems to have been set up to campaign against coronavirus restrictions (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
UK Column is an alternative news website and newspaper founded in 2006. Judging from the cartoon on this sticker, they also disapprove of coronavirus restrictions. Someone has responded by writing on the sticker (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This sticker is a modified version of a well-known image created by the street artist Shepard Fairey (the mask has been added). Although it isn’t explicitly anti-mask, that is how I interpret it. Many people opposed to coronavirus restrictions have complained that they are authoritarian, and I think this sticker is making a point along those lines. I suppose it could be an honest attempt to encourage people to wear masks, but it doesn’t feel like that! (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
It is not uncommon to see the coronavirus restrictions linked to the dystopic world of George Orwell’s 1984. This sticker is suggesting that Covid-19 is an excuse for cracking down on civil liberties. ‘False flag’ is a phrase popular with conspiracy theorists (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
I wanted to end on a slightly more positive note, and this sticker made me smile. Once I figured out what it means, that is! ‘Jambo’ is a nickname for a supporter of the Heart of Midlothian football team, based in Edinburgh. Apparently they have a healthy rivalry with the other Edinburgh team, Hibernian. Something tells me this sticker was made by a Hibs fan! (Photo: Hannah Awcock).