Edinburgh’s Protest Stickers: Israel-Palestine

Stickers sympathetic to Palestine are not new, but they began to appear more frequently in Edinburgh after violence flared up in May 2021 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is an incredibly complex one that has been going on for decades. Every so often violence flares up, drawing international attention back to the region. The most recent outbreak started on 10th May 2021, sparked by the predicted eviction of four Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Control of the area is contested, and more than 1000 Palestinian families are currently at risk of eviction.

Most of the protest stickers I have found in the UK are sympathetic to Palestine, it is very rare to find pro-Israeli ones. The conflict is a relatively common topic of stickers (I wrote a blog post about pro-Palestinian stickers in London back in 2017), but when the violence gets worse the frequency of stickers increases. With the outbreak of hostilities in May, the number of stickers in Edinburgh went up. Several of the designs I have seen before in other cities, but some are unique, and some are specific to Edinburgh.

Campaigns to support Palestine is nothing new. I photographed this sticker in 2020, but it is referring to an event in 2016. On 17th August 2016, the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland hosted an event as part of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe to promote Israeli cultural performers. No 2 Brand Israel organised a series of events to oppose this, as part of the BDS strategy. BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and a strategy adopted by organisations around the world in 2005 to put pressure on Israel to comply with international law (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This sticker is calling for the boycott of Israeli-made goods, a key element of the BDS strategy. The Palestinian flag, and colours of the flag, are a common feature of pro-Palestinian stickers (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This sticker was produced by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an active group that does what it says on the tin really (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This is another sticker that predates the current conflict. It was produced by rs21, otherwise known as Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century, which produces commentary and analysis on a broad range of issues and events. They also support BDS (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This sticker was also produced by rs21. Benjamin Netanyahu was Israeli Prime Minister between 1996 and 1999, and 2009 and June 2021. This sticker appeared in the Meadowbank area of Edinburgh in May 2021, but the design dates back to 2014 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This is another sticker that appeared in 2021, but was designed much earlier. I first spotted it in London in 2017. It was produced by the Socialist Worker Student Society, the student section of the Socialist Workers Party, another revolutionary socialist group (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Street artists and taggers have used the ‘Hello my name is…’ stickers for a long time because they are cheap and readily available. It is less common to see them used as protest stickers, but they’re effective! (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The text on this handwritten sticker is faded, but it reads ‘Palestine will be free” (Photo: Hannah Awcock)
This sticker doesn’t explicitly mention Palestine, but because it is the same pen and handwriting as the previous sticker, and I found them relatively close together near the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, I assume that this one is also about Palestine (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

London’s Protest Stickers: Israel-Palestine

15-04-15 Oxford Street

This is not technically a sticker, but I like the work of this artist, so I decided to include it (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Oxford Street, 15/04/15).

On the 25th of August, Frankfurt City Council approved a bill that will ban the use of municipal funds for Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) activities targeting Israel, if it is approved by the city parliament. Frankfurt is the first German city to take this step, but it looks like Munich will follow suit in the autumn (Jerusalem Post, 2017).Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor and city treasurer for Frankfurt, argues that the movement is anti-Semitic. The BDS movement campaigns to put economic pressure on the Israeli state in order to compel Israel to obey international law in its dealings with Palestine. Founded in 2005, BDS is a coalition of groups from Palestine and around the world. London’s protest stickers suggest that support for the BDS movement is much stronger here than it is in Germany. In fact, every sticker I have found in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict in London is pro-Palestine.

You can see where I found these stickers on the Turbulent London Map.

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The colour scheme of BDS stickers usually reflects the Palestinian flag, which has three horizontal strips of black, white, and green, overlaid with a red triangle on the left hand side. War on Want is an organisation that campaigns on multiple issues relating to human rights, social justice, and the root causes of poverty (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Lewisham Way, 20/03/16).

25-02-15 Royal Mint Street

This sticker, which features the Palestian flag, is produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which claims to be the biggest organisation in the UK campaigning for Palestinian human rights (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Mint Street, 25/02/15).

25-02-15 Cable Street (2)

This sticker doesn’t directly refer to the BDS campaign, but it does also use the colours of the Palestinian flag (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Cable Street, 25/02/15).

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Again, this sticker uses the colour scheme of the Palestinian flag (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Pentonville Road, 23/03/17)

12-05-15 British Museum

I suspect that this sticker was designed to be worn by people rather than street furniture, because of its small, round shape. However, stickers worn on street furniture tends to last longer than stickers worn on clothes (Photo: Hannah Awcock, British Museum, 12/05/15).

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This sticker was produced by the Socialist Worker Student Society, the student arm of the Socialist Worker’s Party, a revolutionary party that campaigns for socialism and internationalism (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 28/05/17).

15-04-15 Russell Square

This sticker does not use the traditional BDS colour scheme, but it does illustrate the logic behind BDS in a way that I think is quite striking (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Russell Square, 15/04/15).

17-02-15 Malet Street (2)

The boycott element of BDS includes academia. In 2015, the SOAS Student Union held a referendum over whether or not the university should implement an academic boycott. The students voted yes to the boycott (Photo: Hanna Awcock, Malet Street, 17/02/15).

12-03-15 Gordon Street, Bloomsbury (3)

This sticker Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st century is a group that campaigns on a whole range of issues. This sticker is calling for BDS, using the image of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, 09/08/15).

Protest Stickers: London Road, Brighton

Like most other cities, stickers of all kinds are a common sight on the streets of Brighton.

Like most other cities, stickers of all kinds are a common sight on the streets of Brighton (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Brighton is a coastal city in the south of England, about an hour away from London by train. It is well known for being an open and accepting city, and it also happens to be my home town, so it’s very special to me. I have written about protest and dissent in Brighton on Turbulent London before, but the city also has an awful lot of protest stickers so I think it deserves (at least) one more post. I took the pictures featured here on a walk down a single (admittedly quite long) road in the city. London Road runs from the city centre to the outskirts in the direction of London, funnily enough. Quite run down when I was younger, the area along the road is going through a rapid process of gentrification, to the extent that is known by some as the Shoreditch of Brighton. Gentrification is frequently a contested process however, and London Road has no shortage of protest stickers.

This is a tile stuck to the wall of a Greggs bakery, so not technically a protest sticker, but I couldn't resist putting it in because I like it so much. London Road is changing rapidly, and not everyone supports the changes.

This is a tile stuck to the wall of a Greggs bakery, so not technically a protest sticker, but I couldn’t resist putting it in because I like it so much. London Road is changing rapidly, and not everyone supports the changes (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Le Turnip produces quite a few satirical stickers, and I have featured some of them before on the blog. This one apes CCTV warning signs, but refers to Sauron, the personification of evil in the Lord of the Rings. Sauron's eye sits atop a huge tower, and can see everything that goes on in Middle Earth.

Le Turnip produces quite a few satirical stickers, and I have featured some of them before on the blog. This one apes CCTV warning signs, but refers to Sauron, the personification of evil in the Lord of the Rings. Sauron’s eye sits atop a huge tower, and can see everything that goes on in Middle Earth (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Many of the issues protested in London Road stickers are similar to those in London. This striking sticker criticises the reliance of the state on police forces. Brighton generally has an anti-authoritarian vibe.

Many of the issues protested in London Road stickers are similar to those in London. This striking sticker criticises the reliance of the state on police forces. Brighton generally has an anti-authoritarian vibe (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The anti-authoritarian vibe is also played out through this sticker, variations of which are common throughout Brighton, not just in London Road. The dome which the cannabis leaf is imposed on is frequently used as a symbol of Brighton. It comes from the Brighton Pavilion, a palace built by George IV.

The anti-authoritarian vibe is also played out through this sticker, variations of which are common throughout Brighton, not just in London Road. The dome which the cannabis leaf is imposed on is frequently used as a symbol of Brighton. It comes from the Brighton Pavilion, a palace built by George IV (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Another cause close to the hearts of many Brightonians is environmentalism. The city elected the first ever Green Party MP in 2010, and had one of the first Green-run councils in the country.

Another cause close to the hearts of many Brightonians is environmentalism. The city elected the first ever Green Party MP in 2010, and had one of the first Green-run councils in the country (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Some stickers along London Road are about less familiar issues however. Most of this sticker has been obscured, but it is still possible to make out that it is declaring solidarity with the zapatistas, a topic which I have not seen in a London sticker yet.

Some stickers along London Road are about less familiar issues however. Most of this sticker has been obscured, but it is still possible to make out that it is declaring solidarity with the Zapatistas, a topic which I have not seen in a London sticker yet (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Unfortunately, not everyone in Brighton is liberal and accepting, this sticker declares a vicious anti-immigration stance in support of UKIP. This was not the first time I have seen this sticker around the city, and I must admit I have removed them from the streets in the past.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Brighton is liberal and accepting, this sticker declares a vicious anti-immigration stance in support of UKIP. This was not the first time I have seen this sticker around the city, and I must admit I have removed them from the streets in the past (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The location of stickers can sometimes be important. These stickers were on the entrance to the London Road open market, which has fish stalls.

The location of stickers can sometimes be important. These stickers were on the entrance to the London Road open market, which has fish stalls (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

There are many people in Brighton who are not afraid to be different. Nevertheless this sticker accuses people of being sheep, blindly following the herd.

There are many people in Brighton who are not afraid to be different. Nevertheless this sticker accuses people of being sheep, blindly following the herd (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Just like in London, protest stickers in Brighton are subject to the ravages of time. It is just possible to make out that this sticker is calling for the boycott of Israeli goods, although the colours have faded and most of the letters have worn away.

Just like in London, protest stickers in Brighton are subject to the ravages of time. It is just possible to make out that this sticker is calling for the boycott of Israeli goods, although the colours have faded and most of the letters have worn away (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Anti-fascism is another prominent issue in Brighton, largely due to the March for England demonstrations that are frequently held in the city. This stickers adapts the norm anti-fascist logo to reflect the city's large LGBTQ population.

Anti-fascism is another prominent issue in Brighton, largely due to the March for England demonstrations that are frequently held in the city. This stickers adapts the normal anti-fascist logo to reflect the city’s large LGBTQ population (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The March for England events draw participants and opponents from elsewhere to Brighton.  This stickers comes from Southampton, a city along the coast to the  west.

The March for England events draw participants and opponents from elsewhere to Brighton. This stickers comes from Southampton, a city along the coast to the west of Brighton (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Protest Stickers: Newcastle Upon Tyne

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Like most cities and large towns, the urban infrastructure of Newcastle is littered with stickers of all kinds (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Like most major towns and cities, Newcastle upon Tyne in the northeast of England has a healthy tradition of protest. With a population of just under 300,000, it is not one of the largest cities in the UK, but ‘Geordies’ are famous for their good nature and friendliness. As I discovered when I visited in July, this doesn’t mean there isn’t contention and dissent in the city, which is demonstrated by the large number of protest stickers I found.

This was the first protest sticker I found in Newcastle, on Northumberland Street, in the city's main shopping area.

This was the first protest sticker I found in Newcastle, on Northumberland Street, in the city’s main shopping area (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Animal rights was one of the most common themes of stickers that I found.

Animal rights was one of the most common themes of stickers that I found (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

I have seen similar stickers to this one in London. They criticise the British Heart Foundation for using animals in their research.

I have seen similar stickers to this one in London. They criticise the British Heart Foundation for conducting research on animals (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker also criticises the British Heart Foundation, but is less visually striking. Stickers are made using various methods and various levels of skill.

This sticker also criticises the British Heart Foundation, but is less visually striking. It references a different webite, so I imagine it was made by somebody different to the previous one. Stickers are made using various methods and various levels of skill (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker is also protesting against experimentation on animals, but not specifically in relation to the British Heart Foundation.

This sticker is also protesting against experimentation on animals, but not specifically in relation to the British Heart Foundation (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker also relates generally to animal rights, but focuses on the culling of badgers. It calls for culls to be sabotaged.

This sticker also relates generally to animal rights, but focuses on the culling of badgers. It calls for culls to be sabotaged (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker has been partially removed, but I think that the whole text probably read 'Animal Liberation- Human Liberation.' The raised, clenched fist is a fairly common symbol in protest circles. This sticker plays on that symbolism with the addition of a raised paw.

This sticker has been partially removed, but I think that the whole text probably read ‘Animal Liberation- Human Liberation.’ The raised, clenched fist is a fairly common symbol in protest circles. This sticker plays on that symbolism with the addition of a raised paw (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker has also been partially removed, but two clasped hands can be seen. This is often used as a symbol of solidarity, an important concept in protest movements.

This sticker has also been partially removed, but two clasped hands can be seen. This is often used as a symbol of solidarity, an important concept in protest movements (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The second common theme in Newcastle protest stickers is anti-fascism. Anti-fascist groups seem to produce a lot of protest stickers, and the North-East anti-fascists are no exception.

The second common theme in Newcastle protest stickers is anti-fascism. Anti-fascist groups seem to produce a lot of protest stickers, and the North-East anti-fascists are no exception (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Anti-fascists often campaign on specific issues that they consider related to fascism. This sticker is playing on the name of the English Defence League.

Anti-fascists often campaign on specific issues that they consider related to fascism. This sticker is playing on the name of the English Defence League (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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In this sticker, anti-fascism is connected to class-based activism (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker focuses on the homophobic element of fascism.

This sticker focuses on the homophobic element of fascism. Around the circular anti-fascist logo is the words antihomophobe action. The words at the bottom of the sticker used to read ‘Eat Shit Nazi Scum.’ They look as if they were deliberately obscured, perhaps by a member of Newcastle’s far-right groups, or maybe just by someone who took exception to the profanity (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The North-East Anarchists also have a presence in Newcastle's sticker landscape.

The North-East Anarchists also have a presence in Newcastle’s sticker landscape (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

In this sticker, the North-East Anarchists are criticising the banks, although I found this sticker a bit confusing- I had to read it a few times to figure out what it was saying.

In this sticker, the North-East Anarchists are criticising the banks, although I found this sticker a bit confusing- I had to read it a few times to figure out what it was saying (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Left-wing politics is far from simple. This sticker condemns Bolshevism

Radical politics is far from simple. This sticker is by a group called Anti-Bolshevik Action, which appears to be advocating communism, but not the communism of Stalin, Trotsky and Mao. There are a myriad of complicated divisions between groups with similar beliefs (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Not every group that puts up stickers in Newcastle is left-wing. This sticker from the North East National Front references Enoch Powell, an anti-immigrant politician to made the famous 'rivers of blood' speech in 1968.

Not every group that puts up stickers in Newcastle is left-wing. This sticker from the North East National Front references Enoch Powell, an anti-immigrant politician to made the famous ‘rivers of blood’ speech in 1968 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

National Action is a national socialist group that calls itself "Britain's premier Nationalist street movement." THey reject more mainstream nationalist groups like UKIP and have the ultimate aim of a "white Britain."

National Action is a national socialist group that calls itself “Britain’s premier Nationalist street movement.” They reject more mainstream nationalist groups like UKIP and have the ultimate aim of a “white Britain” (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

As is often the case, stickers in Newcastle reflect a combination of local, national, and international issues. The Trade Unions and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was formed to campaign in the general election in May.

As is often the case, stickers in Newcastle reflect a combination of local, national, and international issues. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was formed to campaign in the general election in May 2015 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

This sticker is calling for a boycott of goods from Israel, specifically oranges. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement aims to resolve the Israel-Palestine issue by exerting economic pressure.

This sticker is calling for a boycott of goods from Israel, specifically oranges. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement aims to resolve the Israel-Palestine issue by exerting economic pressure (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

In contrast to the previous two, this last sticker has a distinctly local flavour. 'Radge' is Geordie slang for rage or anger. It may be a criticism of the armed forces, because of the use of the RAF logo and font.

In contrast to the previous two, this last sticker has a distinctly local flavour. ‘Radge’ is Geordie slang for rage or anger. It may be a criticism of the armed forces, because of the use of the RAF logo and font. It also might not, but I liked it too much to leave out because I wasn’t sure! (Photo: Hannah Awcock)

Sources and Further Reading

Anon. ‘Newcastle upon Tyne.’ Wikipedia. Last modified 17th July 2015, accessed 19th July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newcastle_upon_Tyne