Support for opposition to Sint entrance

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The 21 Amsterdam residents who objected against the annual Sinterklaas entry into the capital,  received mass support Thursday at a formal hearing.Dozens of supporters of the 'Zwarte Piet is racisme' protest showed up at the town hall.

The hall where the appeals committee held its hearing Thursday morning, was too small for the influx of mainly Surinamese and Antillean Dutch. For the zwarte Piet-opponents who could not fit inside, a separate room was assigned with a live video link.

zwarte pieten
Hans Pama

The objectors hope to get the authorization for the festive entry on November 17 revoked. They are of the opinion that the city of Amsterdam should not approve such an event, partly because it has an openly discriminatory character due to the presence of dozens of zwarte Pieten (black Peters).

The committee heard the arguments of the objectors and the defense of the entry-Committee Thursday. After consideration, a recommend will be given to Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. The advise is not binding.

Initiator of the counter-movement Quinsy Gario, warned the municipality about the negative effects the entry may have on international relations and trade missions of the city. The overt discrimination leads to international revulsion.

Documentary maker Sunny Bergman objected as white Amsterdam-resident, because she feels hurt by the phenomenon of Zwarte Piet. In an emotional speech she explained how unconscious racist stereotyping is forced upon her children in school.

The mayor understands the sensitivities, according to an official on behalf of Van der Laan Thursday during the hearing. The council would like to find a way in which everyone can enjoy the festivities, but without taking away from the Sinterklaas tradition.

The committee that organizes the annual entry also tried to appease the 21 Amsterdammers who objected to the entry with black Peters. The tradition can not change too much, but they want to look to the future and hopefully find a way to organize festivities for everyone to enjoy.

The appeal committee will bring out an advise to the mayor, no later than November five, on the authorization granted .

After the hearing in the town hall tempers ran high here and there. The massive amount of sympathizers of the 'Zwarte Piet is Racisme'  protest, vehemently continued their discussion in the hallway. A camera team of PowNews was booed and harassed.



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