Pro-Zwarte Piet protesters must also comply with the law: Official

Raymond Knops
Raymond Knops. Photo: Rijksoverheid / Wikimedia Commons

People protesting for keeping Zwarte Piet in blackface makeup, also have to comply with the law, State Secretary Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said in WNL on Sunday. He was referring to a group of people blocking anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the Sinterklaas parade in Dokkum on Saturday, where they had permission to protest against racism.

"I understand the emotions on this subject, but I cannot approve of people stopping everything on a highway," Knops said. "Everyone must abide by the law, including these people."

The group - described as "white extremist" by the affected members  of Kick Out Zwarte Piet - around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, preventing three buses carrying protesters from reaching the Friesland town where Sinterklaas made his national arrival. When the activists finally arrived in Dokkum, their protest was not allowed to continue. None of the people who blocked the highway were arrested, though the police did take down their names. 

The blockade caused major traffic problems as well as several minor accidents, according to NU.nl. 

The State Secretary refused to comment on the fact that none of the highway blockers were arrested. "I'm not going to talk about that", he said on WNL. He added that information was recorded, but he doesn't know whether any further investigation will follow. 

Knops also said that, as far as he's concerned, Zwarte Piet should be black, according to NU.nl. "That's how we know him where I come from, yes", he said. "I only have positive association. But we must of course take action against discrimination." Knops is from Limburg. 

On Saturday the police said that the decision on whether criminal prosecution will happen, will be made in consultation with the Public Prosecutor. 

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