Original article from Kent Live
A deluge of anti-vaccine, pandemic-denial propaganda stickers have appeared in a park in Bexley.
They have cropped up in public spaces, on publicly displayed reminders to socially distance, and even in children's playgrounds.
Though they aren't entirely commonplace, if you look around your local town centre or park, you will almost certainly find a good number of these stickers – largely belonging to one specific group.
The group in question is called The White Rose movement, who appear to have monopolised the market on easily reproducible disinformation in regards to COVID-19.
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Their slogan, 'Defend freedom, defend humanity', rings hollow, as at time of writing, over 127,000 people have been killed by the pandemic in the UK alone.
Internationally, this number rises to a death count of over 3.5 million.
Walking round a local park in Sidcup, we were able to find an alarming concentration of these stickers, bearing varying degrees of factually incorrect and potentially dangerous misinformation.
One reads, "Stop saying asymptomatic, the word you're looking for is healthy," which runs contrary to extensive data published by the British Medical Journal, which places asymptomatic carriers at about 20 per cent of those who get infected.
Furthermore, 49 per cent of all people initially thought to be asymptomatic will go on to develop symptoms of infection.
These stickers bear similar sentiments – either doubting the existence of new variants, claiming that lockdowns and mask mandates are in some way brutally authoritarian, or outright denying the existence of the virus at all.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable detail about these stickers, however, was their placement.
They were almost solely concentrated around the park and the neighbouring primary school, meaning children were being exposed to these patently false claims.
Heading to a nearby parade of shops or local bus stops, which would present just as good a place to position the stickers, there were none to be found – meaning that this focus on parks seems to be deliberate.
They weren't simply placed on fences or bins in the park however.
Some were actually put on benches and gates to children's play areas, and others were deliberately placed on COVID safety reminders.
June Slaughter, councillor for Old Bexley and Sidcup, was unaware of the issue when reached out to by KentLive, but unequivocally condemned their placement in public spaces:
She said: "I very strongly feel that we all should be vaccinated to deal with the pandemic, which has wrought such harm to individuals personally, and to the economy."
As for the group distributing the stickers, it appears to be a very decentralised network, making the origins of the group difficult to pin down.
A self-described Christian group, It does have a website through which is publishes articles peddling unsourced claims about the virus, though the religious aspect of the organisation seems mostly disconnected from their messaging.
Stickers are not ordered or bought, either – rather the images are distributed and members are encouraged to print them off themselves.
The group borrows its name from a student group who resisted the authoritarian regime of Nazi Germany.
The leaders of the real White Rose movement were executed by guillotine in 1943 after a show trial by the Gestapo.
Public Health England has made clinically accurate information on the pandemic available in video form here.
The government and NHS have also published extensive information on the safety and regulation surrounding vaccines, as well as information on lockdowns and a roadmap of how the UK aims to recover from the pandemic.