VVD calls on Utrecht parents to dress as blackface Zwarte Piet

. ()

The Utrecht faction of the VVD is calling on parents to go to school dressed as traditional, blackface Zwarte Piet during Sinterklaas' arrival on Friday. This is in response to school organization SPO, which governs more than 30 public schools in the city, banning Sinterklaas' controversial helper from the celebrations this year.

Parents in the city were shocked by the SPO's decision, according to newspaper AD. They feel that Zwarte Piet belongs in the celebration. "I find it very strange that parents were not consulted", VVD councilor Queeny Rajkowski said to the newspaper. "Children are not even allowed to watch Sinterklaasjournaal in class. That's a radical statement. I would say, if parents do not agree with this, let yourself be heard and go to school as Zwarte Piet. That would be an important statement."

Other parties are also dissatisfied with the SPO's decision, though mostly that it was made without consulting the parents, rather than the decision itself. "SPO is particularly committed to parent involvement. It would have been more appropriate to engage in dialogue", PvdA councilor Gadiza Bouazani commented. Selma Bas of the D66, the largest party in the city, agrees. "I have trouble with such a decision coming from above."

Public primary schools in the city came up with alternatives for the Sinterklaas celebration after SPO decided to ban Zwarte Piet. One school decided to replace the controversial character with Minions - fumbling yellow creatures from the animated movie Despicable Me.