First protests at Sinterklaas arrival announced
With the month of November, and the arrival of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, approaching, the Zwarte Piet discussion is also starting up again. The first demonstrations at the Sint's arrival in Zaanstad on November 17th were announced, though so far only from activists supporting the blackface figure of Zwarte Piet.
Right-wing group Nederlands Volks-Unie (NVU) announced in a video that they plan to be in Zaanstad with a "nice delegation" during the arrival to "welcome Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten". They will legally request permission for this manifestation.
A group of Zaandam residents also announced their intention to protest at the arrival on Facebook. The group is for Zwarte Piet. "All Antis come to Zaandam shouting that Zwarte Piet can not and must not be allowed. In addition, they will call everyone in Zaandam who is FOR Zwarte Piet racist etc. That's why it's time for a counter noise", the event reads.
As far as is known, no anti-Zwarte Piet groups officially announced protests at the national arrival as of yet.
Though activist Jennifer van Leijen asked Mayor Jan Hamming to cancel the national Sinterklaas arrival in Zaanstad, because it included the racist figure of Zwarte Piet in previous years, the Telegraaf reports. In an open letter she and other activists said that they were prepared to discuss this with the municipality, according to the newspaper. "We will therefore, together with other anti-racism activists, continue to take action at the arrival in Zaanstad and other places where the racist caricature raises its nasty head", the letter said, according to the newspaper.
Activist Jerry Afriyie of Kick Out Zwarte Piet, which has been protesting against Zwarte Piet in his current blackface form for years, told Het Parool that his group is not planning a protest. "We're trying to create awareness with guest lessons at school", he said.
Mayor Hamming previously said that the municipality will allow protests during the national arrival, for both supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet, but only on the condition that no children are affected by the protests. "I think that's very important", he said in June, according to Het Parool. "That children should be able to celebrate their beautiful party, the party of the year, in a relaxed and pleasant way."