Well-known anti-Zwarte Piet activist Jerry Afriyie was fined 500 euros by the court in The Hague for resisting arrest during the Sinterklaas arrival in Gouda in 2014. Afriyie plans to go in cassation against the verdict, he confirmed to NU.nl.
The Dutch judiciary does not have to prosecute companies for using blackface Zwarte Piet, the court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday in an Article 12 procedure brought by the foundation Nederland Wordt Beter, NU.nl reports.
The committee responsible for organizing Sinterklaas' arrival in Amstelveen quit, the college of mayor and aldermen wrote to the Amstelveen municipality. The committee refuses to accept any form of Zwarte Piet other than the traditional blackface one, and decided to rather step down than be forced into it, Het Parool reports.
The PVV's legislative proposal to make municipalities only participate in Sinterklaas events in which Zwarte Piet is wearing blackface makeup, could count on almost no support from both the lower house of Dutch parliament and the Dutch government today. Most parties in parliament were against the law and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs stated that the bill goes against the Dutch constitution.
Dutch soldiers on a United Nations mission in Mali got a visit from Sinterklaas and two Zwarte Piets in their traditional blackface makeup on Monday, according to a photo the Ministry of Defense posted on Twitter.
Today Sinterklaas is visiting schools across the Netherlands in celebration of his birthday. And as tradition dictates, he will be accompanied by his Pieten. What exactly these Pieten will look like differs widely by region, municipality and schools and seems to be mostly determined by what neighborhood the school is located in, NOS reports after speaking with some 30 school boards, covering about a thousand primary schools across the country.
The Sinterklaas celebration with Zwarte Piet in his current blackface form can inadvertently contribute to stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice wrote in a letter to parliament. The government therefore supports the tradition being adapted, NU.nl reports.
"It is difficult, for example in the U.S., to explain the tradition of Zwarte Piet in his current form", the Minister wrote, but he added that the Dutch who "always celebrate the kids party with great joy" are not directly racist.
The Onze Wereld primary school in Rotterdam decided to scrap their Sinterklaas' arrival parade this year for "security reasons", school principal Tilly Terheijden said to newspaper AD. Instead Sinterklaas will arrive at the school out of sight of the parents.
The school decided to have Sinterklaas accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten this year, instead of the traditional blackface Zwarte Pieten after a complaint by a parent. This decision led to a heated discussion among parents at the school, with both pro- and anti-Zwarte Piet groups rearing their heads.
Anti-Zwarte Piet activist Jerry Afriyie filed abuse reports against a number of police offiers on Tuesday. According to the activists, the police use unnecessary violence while arresting him and nearly 200 others in Rotterdam on Sinterklaas' arrival day on November 12th, AD reports.
Right-wing grop Pegida decided to protest against Amsterdam's decision not to allow blackface makeup at its Sinterklaas party by parading Zwarte Pieten in blackface makeup through some of Amsterdam's most ethnically diverse neigborhoods.
The municipality of Geleen approved a protest against blackface Zwarte Piet at the Sinterklaas party in the center of the city on Saturday. This follows a meeting with the initiators of the protest on Thursday, 1Limburg reports.
The activists plan a silent protest at Sinterklaas' arrival in the city on Saturday. They hope to stand close to the Saint's podium. A spokesperson for the municipality told L1 that a spot has been designated for the protesters, but the location will not be announced yet. According to the spokesperson, it is a small group of protesters.
Both intelligence service AIVD and the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof contacted Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb prior to Sinterklaas' arrival in Maassluis on Saturday to warn him about possible clashes between anti-blackface Zwarte Piet activists, right-wing protesters and hooligans, the mayor said in a debate with his city council on Thursday, NOS reports.
Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is plainning at least three more protests against blackface Zwarte Piet in the coming weeks, the organization announced on Thursday, ANP reports.
The group will hold "peaceful protests" at Sinterklaas' arrival in Leiden on November 19th, in Utrecht on November 26th and Rotterdam on November 207th.
A massive 198 people were arrested in Rotterdam on Saturday for wanting to protest against controversial character Zwarte Piet. Among them were GroenLinks councilor Simion Blom, lawyer Michiel Pestman and activist Jerry Afriyie.
A massive 1,075,000 people tuned in to NTR to watch the first episode of Sinterklaasjournaal on Wednesday night. According to rating foundation KijkOnderzoek, Sinterklaasjournaal was the 10th most watched program of the evening, the Telegraaf reports.
There was much interest in the runup to the first episode. Many schools and foundations were waiting to see what Sinterklaasjournaal did with the appearance of Zwarte Piet before making a decision themselves. The first episode featured both a white- and blackface Piet.
The Sinterklaas arrival committees in the vast majority of Dutch towns and cities decided to keep their Zwarte Pieten traditional with blackface makeup, according to a survey by NOS and regional broadcasters. Only two of the 223 surveyed committees will have no blackface makeup at Sinterklaas' arrival - Amsterdam and Heemstede.
Sinterklaas will be surrounded by only Chimney Pieten during his arrival in Amsterdam this year. While the organizing committee announced earlier this week that 75 percent of the Pieten will be covered in soot instead of traditional makeup, they announced on Friday that not a single Piet will be wearing the blacface makeup when Sinterklaas arrives on November 13th, ANP reports.
At least 75 percent of the Zwarte Piet's in Amsterdam will not be wearing the traditional blacface makeup at Sinterklaas arrival in the city on November 13th, Pam Evenhuis said to NU.nl as spokesperson for the Sinterklaas organizing committee in the Dutch captial.
Anti-blackface group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) plans to protest in Maassluis during Sinterklaas' national arrival on November 12th. "For us 2016 will be the last year that December has an aftertaste of colonialism, slavery and opression", the group said according to RTL Nieuws.
According to the KOZP, Zwarte Piet in his current form is a racist figure.
Rob Bleumink, school director of primary school De Boomhut in Arnhem, received several threats after he announced his intention to no longer allow blackface Zwarte Piet at his school. Hundreds of people verbally attacked and threatened him online, AD reports.
The Discrimination Hotline for the Amsterdam region is calling on people to report cases of discrimination, harassment and racism during the Sinterklaas season, NOS reports.
According to the Hotline, the “controversial figure of Zwarte Piet”, annually causes situations to get out of hand at school, work and other public places. The Hotline is consciously choosing to actively participate in the debate on what Zwarte Piet should look like.
Support for blackface makeup on Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet is steadily declining, though the vast majority is still in favor of it. In Maurice d e Hond's latest political poll 21 percent of Dutch indicated that it is time for Zwarte Piet to change, compared to less than 10 percent three years ago.
More than 100 Dutch celebrities, including directors, actors and athletes, wrote an open letter to broadcaster NTR on Friday asking that the appearance of controversial Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet be updated to fit a multicultural society, NRC reports based on the letter in its possession.
The Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, nearly unanimously rejected the PVV's legislative proposal to make blackface makeup for Zwarte Piet mandatory. Many parties did so rather mockingly. The SP, for example, wanted to know why the PVV did not get Sinterklaas' advice on their bill, Joop reports.