Court acquits activist for violent anti-Zwate Piet protest

The court acquitted anti-Zwarte Piet activist Jerry Afriyie on Thursday. Afriyie was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer during a violent protest in Gouda two years ago, NOS reports. 

During the Sinterklaas arrival festival in Gouda in 2014 supporters and opponents of blackface Zwarte Piet gathered to protest at the town hall. They had no permission to protest there and the police ordered them to leave. The atmosphere turned nasty and a total of 90 people were arrested, both in the pro- and anti-Zwarte Piet groups.

Afriyie was the only one to end up in court, according to NOS. According to the Public Prosecutor, he resisted arrest and injured a police officer by pinching him hard in the leg.

The court ruled that the police acted too violently against Afriyie during the arrest. The judge also stated that Afriyie should not have pinched the officer, but given the circumstances at the time it is understandable that he did.

The judge also found that the arrests unjustly violated the protesters' freedom of expression.

The Prosecutor demanded that Afriyie pay a fine of 1,500 euros.