24 Kick Out Zwarte Piet anti-racism protests announced
Activist organization Kick Out Zwarte Piet, which annually protests against the use of racist stereotypes and blackface makeup during the Sinterklaas holiday festivities, said it will organize demonstrations in two dozen Dutch cities later this year. The group of peaceful demonstrators found themselves the frequent targets of hostility and violence, including an arson attempt in The Hague last year.
"Over the last few weeks there have been demonstrations against institutional racism, police violence and unequal treatment around the world. It is nice to see so many people, also in places across the Netherlands, show solidarity and take to the streets," the organization said in reference to protests held in the weeks following the death of George Floyd during a violent police arrest in America.
"In the Netherlands, one of the most visible forms of institutional racism is Zwarte Piet, the annually recurring caricature of black people, which dates from the time when slavery in the Netherlands had not yet been abolished," the organization said. It stated that Zwarte Piet is a character which "guaranteed that many black people do not feel safe during the Sinterklaas period, and are themselves called 'Zwarte Piet' all year round."
This week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has led the country for ten years, said for the first time his opinion and perspective on the use of blackface was changing. At the same time, he said that government alone cannot tackle the issues related to racism in society.
It has not yet been announced where the national arrival party for Sinterklaas will take place. For the time being, the activist group said it would protest across eight of the 12 provinces in the Netherlands in November.
Among the 24 cities were Arnhem and Nijmegen, which both said this week that they would ban the use of blackface at their official Sinterklaas arrival parties.
Kick Out Zwarte Piet protests scheduled for November 7
- Den Bosch
- Den Helder
More Kick Out Zwarte Piet protests scheduled in November
- Nijmegen (14 Nov.)
- Edam (15 Nov.)
- Volendam (15 Nov.)