Pro-Zwarte Piet activist: businesses give anonymously to cause

According to the action group Pro-Zwarte Piet, Dutch businesses who sponsor money or materials to pro-Zwarte Piet actions, want to remain anonymous.

The group wants to paint the faces of as many children as possible black at the national arrival of Sinterklaas in Gouda on November 15th. They also want to hand out curly hair wigs.

According to the group, several companies have offered their support on one condition - their name must not be mentioned anywhere. "The one gives money, another donates kilograms of confetti and at a large toy chain we can buy face paint and Piet things at cost price" says Richard Scholten of the action group.

Apparently these companies want nothing in return. "They say they want to contribute on principle, because they feel that a Dutch tradition is being deprived. But they are also afraid to associate their name to the action. A manager literally said 'that could cost me the head'." According to Scholten all kinds of companies are contributing to the action.

In addition to the companies, the group also wants citizens to raise money for the face paint action. An account was opened for this purpose yesterday. "The more children we can make up the better. If the camera films the audience and these images are broadcast nationwide, they must see black on the Pietjes." says Scholten, "We would also like to hand out curly hair wigs and set up face paint stalls. If every Dutchman who thinks Zwarte Piet should remain donates 1 euro for example, we will quickly go a long way."

25 volunteers have come forward to help with the face painting on November 15th. Here again Scholten feels the more the better. The action group hopes to paint the faces of at least 2 thousand children.