Far-right anti-Islamist group wants more blackface use at Sinterklaas arrival

Zwarte Pieten (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/EnSintClopedie)Zwarte Pieten (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/EnSintClopedie)

Far-right, anti-Islam group Pegida is calling on people to come to the national Sinterklaas arrival this year dressed as blackface Zwarte Piet. "We want to turn it into a traditional, beautiful children's party again", Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld, dressed in a Sinterklaas costume, said in a video on Facebook.

Sinterklaas will make his national arrival in Apeldoorn this year. NTR announced that Sinterklaas will only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten this year - Piet characters with soot marks on their faces, instead of full-blown blackface makeup.

Pegida is not pleased with that, and call on people to come to the arrival in traditional Zwarte Piet costume, including blackface makeup, frizzy hair, red lips and gold earrings. "It is a small group that has problems with Zwarte Piet. That minority must just accept this tradition. Now the state broadcaster is organizing a party for a minority at the expense of the taxpayer", Wagensveld said in his video.

The municipality of Apeldoorn has taken note of the video, a spokesperson said to Omroep Gelderland. "Anyone who wants to come and watch the national arrival in Apeldoorn is very welcome, even if you are made up as Zwarte Piet. If people want to demonstrate against Piet's appearance, we ask these people to report to us. There are possibilities for this along the route."