Organizers of Leeuwarden Sinterklaas party quit over Zwarte Piet appearance
SSIL, the foundation responsible for organizing the annual Sinterklaas party in Leeuwarden, resigned on Monday. The organization fears that protests around the appearance of controversial character Zwarte Piet will make the party unsafe, Omrop Fryslân reports.
Leeuwarden opted for Gray Pieten with gray faces, instead of the traditional Zwarte Pieten in full-blown blackface makeup. Action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) objected to this, asking that the city use Chimney Pieten with soot swipes on their faces instead of Piet characters in full-face makeup. KOZP also announced a protest during the Sinterklaas arrival party, according to the Friesland broadcaster.
SSIL said that the demonstration and any possible counter-demonstrations would put public safety under pressure. The foundation, therefore, withdrew from organizing the party. "In order to allow the arrival party of Leeuwarden to continue, the entire organization of SSIL is withdrawing, and we, with a heavy heart, transfer the entire foundation to other organizers and volunteers," the foundation said.