Ruling in Zwarte Piet courtcase today
A judge in Amsterdam is set to rule today in the court case against the opponents of Dutch blackface tradition zwarte Piet.
It is the third formal attempt opponents have launched since the opposition took mushroomed to unprecedented proportions; 20 complaints that had been filed last year to block zwarte Piet’s November 17th 2013 parade had been found unfounded by Amsterdam’s city council and a subsequent application for a rule nisi was thrown out of court. The opponents said that even if their latest civil case would be dismissed by the judge, they would not rest.
They argued that the discussion is about more than the nostalgic sentiments surrounding the Sinterklaas, the robed, bearded holy man whose portrayal zwarte Piet is the helper of.
At the last hearing last month Government’s attorneys repeated earlier statements by Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan who, while he seemed sympathetic to the case the opponents were making, has said that his hands are tied as far as forbidding zwarte Piet appearing in a parade is concerned.
Van der Laan said he could only refuse a license for an event if there are indications that said event would threaten the public order. “This mayor has said that this discussion is not one that regards his office. It is a discussion that should be held amongst the community. The community makes traditions and the community can change them,” the lawyers quoted Van der Laan.
The ruling today is expected at 10.00am.