Several parties in the lower house of Dutch parliament voiced strong criticism on Prime Minister Mark Rutte's response to disturbances around various Sinterklaas celebrations in the Netherlands over the weekend. The Prime Minister's call for no demonstrations in the three weeks that Sinterklaas is in the Netherlands in particular led to bewilderment from the D66, GroenLinks, SP, PvdA, ChristenUnie, PvdD and DENK, among others, NU.nl reports.
"Extremists on both sides" of the Zwarte Piet issue caused problems at the Sinterklaas arrivals around the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday. Rutte conceded that the issues were "overwhelmingly" due to "pro-Zwarte Piet demonstrators."
After a weekend that saw anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators attacked by threats, racist epithets, and with eggs and beer cans hurled at them, the activists of Kick Out Zwarte Piet said they are disappointed in city governance in the Netherlands. Protestors were physically and verbally assaulted during the Sinterklaas arrival events in Eindhoven, Groningen, and Leeuwarden, while threats of violence forced the cancellation of a protest in Nijmegen.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he has no plans to take a position in either the European Union or European Commission, and put an end to his Netherlands political career. Now leading his third cabinet as PM, Rutte has held the top job for over eight years.
"I'm staying. I'm not going to Brussels," he told NPO Radio 1's 10P1.
He said it would be irrelevant for other European leaders to try and persuade him to resign as Prime Minister to sit in a position like European President or European Commission Chairman. Rutte wants to serve the entire duration of the current cabinet.
Activists angered by the use of blackface around the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition are planning to protest in Dokkum on Saturday. The protestors had previously made arrangements with the municipality to lawfully demonstrate in the Friesland town at the televised Sinterklaas arrival last year, but their buses were stopped by people who created a blockade on the A7 motorway shutting down all traffic on a main road into the province.
A group of Zwarte Piet opponents filed summary proceedings asking the court to ban the national arrival of Sinterklaas in Zaanstad on Saturday. The Majority Perspective foundation filed this lawsuit against a number of involved parties, including Sinterklaasjournaal broadcaster NTR and the mayor of Zaanstad, NU.nl reports.
A group of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters occupied a footbridge to the Mediapark in Hilversum on Monday morning. They call on broadcaster NTR to use only so-called Chimney Pieten with soot marks on their faces in the Sinterklaasjournaal, instead of Pieten with completely black faces, NU.nl reports.
There are "indications" that former Minister Ivo Opstelten of Justice and Security urged the Public Prosecution Service in 2014 to prosecute PVV leader Geert Wilders for hate speech over statements he made about Moroccans, Wilders' lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops said. He asked the court for "further investigation" into the question of whether the Minister influenced this case, Knoops said to RTL Nieuws.
Working group Truth-finding MH17 wrote a letter to United States president Donald Trump asking him to intervene on their behalf with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The working group, which consists of relatives of people who died when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, wants Trump to convince Putin to cooperate in the investigation and be open about what happened, according to the letter published by RTL Nieuws.
Authorities in the Netherlands will pursue a criminal case against a doctor accused of performing euthanasia on a 74-year-old incapacitated woman with dementia. Her prosecution will be the country's first against a doctor involving euthanasia since the Dutch law permitting the practice went into law over 15 years ago.
Government information service Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst is looking for an online communications advisors to write posts for Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Twitter and other social media. The job entails translating government policy into accessible information for the outside world in the form of creative texts, vlogs and videos for social media, AD reports.
Children in Zaanstad see Sinterklaas as a fun family celebration and when it comes to the color of Zwarte Piet, they prefer so-called Chimney Pieten colored black by soot, according to Zaanstad Children's Ombudsman Martien van Does, Het Parool reports.
Van Does spoke to 200 children about Sinterklaas in the run-up to a debate evening on Wednesday about the holy man's national arrival at the Zaanse Schans on November 17th.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, adopted a motion that will allow kids in public schools to refuse participating in religious acts during a school trip to a religious institution like a church, mosque or synagogue. Parents can apply for an exemption for their kids, the motion states, RTL Nieuws reports.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, supports a proposal by ruling party VVD to build more nuclear power plants in the Netherlands. Opponents worry about nuclear waste and what it will mean for future generations, NOS reports.
The VVD proposal was supported by the VVD, PVV, CDA and FvD. Proponents believe that the Netherlands can not afford to outright reject nuclear energy. But they also point out the disadvantages - nuclear waste, the construction of a nuclear plant is a long process, and it is an expensive source of energy.
Zwarte Piet in his traditional form will no longer be welcome at the police's internal Sinterklaas celebrations from 2020. "The Sinterklaas party is a connecting party, but some expressions at that party hurt people. Where such painful experiences exist, we look together how we can solve that", the police said in a statement.
The lawyer who represented Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan after spending eight years on death row, fled from Pakistan to the Netherlands. He has been sheltered by the Foundation for Assistance to Persecuted Christians since Saturday. According to the lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, he did not want to leave Pakistan, but the UN urged him to as he is the target of death threats, NOS reprots.
31 mayors of larger Dutch cities are calling on the Senate not to remove the appointment of mayors from the Dutch constitution, and to keep the procedure as is. Removing the appointment procedure from the constitution is the first step in enabling an elected mayor. The mayors are worried that this will result in them losing their connecting role as "father or mother for all residents, businesses and institutions", they wrote in an open letter to the Senate, the Volkskrant reports.
VVD party leader Klaas Dijkhoff is facing furious reactions on the way he responded to a 9-year-old boy telling him how afraid he was to be deported to Iraq. When the child told him that he thinks death waits in Iraq, the Liberal parliamentarian said: "Yes, well", RTL Nieuws reports.
Amsterdam coalition parties GroenLinks, D66 and SP want to move prostitution out of the Red Light District by issuing new prostitution permits for areas outside the city center. They hope that this will relieve some pressure on the busy city center, and make sex workers' lives easier and safer. But not all sex workers are pleased with his idea.
Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure did not know which types of Stint cargo bikes were on the public road until she temporarily banned the vehicles following a fatal accident in Oss. "If you find that there is no supervision, then I can only confirm that", she said in a parliamentary debate on Thursday evening, NU.nl reports.
The GroenLinks faction in Amsterdam partially relented on its plan to remove all I Amsterdam letters in the Dutch capital. Only the letters on Museumplein must go. If the residents of Nieuw-West and Zuidoost want to keep their I Amsterdam letters, the party will not ignore their wishes, AT5 reports.
Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture wants to use a "light form" of genetic modification as part of her efforts to make agriculture in the Netherlands more sustainable. She is currently working with companies, farmers and Wageningen University to investigate the possibilities for experimenting with the so-called CRISPR-Cas method. She will send parliament a letter about their progress in the coming weeks, she said to the Volkskrant.
Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was authorized to ban a demonstration against Zwarte Piet in November 2016, the court in Rotterdam ruled. Activist group Kick Out Zwarte Piet wanted to protest in Rotterdam during the arrival of Sinterklaas in November 2016. Mayor Aboutaleb banned this demonstration out of fear of disturbances. Some 200 demonstrators were arrested.