Posters showing anti-racism activist Afriyie as Zwarte Piet hung across Den Haag

Jerry Afriyie in Amsterdam
Human rights activist Jerry Afriyie speaking at De Balie in Amsterdam. Feb. 9, 2019De BalieVimeoCC-BY-NC

Posters featuring anti-discrimination activist Jerry Afriyie as Zwarte Piet were plastered all over Den Haag late Friday night and early Saturday morning. The posters use a digitally-manipulated portrait of Afriyie, turning him into the racist caricature he has led a charge against for years.

Hundreds of posters were affixed along the parade route for the arrival of Sinterklaas in Den Haag. They were glued to storefronts and boats in the harbor, according to broadcaster Omroep West.

"I started this morning with a lot of energy, but this makes me sad," said Peter Boelhouwer, the parade organizer. The municipality stepped in to help remove the posters, as did entrepreneurs, security personnel, and residents, the city confirmed.

Afriyie has been working with protest organization Kick Out Zwarte Piet. The group says the use of blackface in portraying Zwarte Piet, also often with black curly wigs, big red lips, gold hoop earrings, and buffoonish behavior, is a relic the minstrel shows that toured American and Europe in the late 19th century.

They will hold a demonstration in Den Haag on Saturday at 1pm away from the parade route. They advocate for a Sinterklaas festival that is welcoming of all people from all backgrounds.

"We're going to make it a nice day," Boelhouwer said with determination.

Sinterklaas arrives in Den Haag at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

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