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.
The court in Leeuwarden sentenced pro-Zwarte Piet activists to community service between 80 and 240 hours for preventing two buses of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum in November last year, NU.nl reports.
The Public Prosecutor demanded 6 months in prison against one of the 34 people suspected of blocking the A7 highway so that two buses carrying anti-Zwarte Piet protesters could not reach the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum last year. The other 33 suspects face community service, NOS reports.
The trial against 34 people suspected of blocking the A7 highway to prevent anti-Zwarte Peit protesters from reaching the national Sinterklaas arrival celebrations in Dokkum last year, started on Monday. The case was suspended shortly after it started because one of the judges, Willem Sikkema, lost consciousness, AD reports.
A total of 34 Zwarte Piet supporters will be criminally prosecuted for blocking the A7 highway at Joure before Sinterklaas' national arrival in Dokkum last year, the Prosecutor announced. They blocked the highway to prevent anti-Zwarte Piet activists reaching Dokkum to demonstrate at the arrival party.
An investigation was launched into a threat to kill Sinterklaas during his national arrival in Dokkum last year, the Public Prosecutor confirmed to the Telegraaf. The threat, aimed at Stefan de Walle, the actor who plays Sinterklaas, was made by the leader of left-wing extremist group De Grauwe Eeuw, according to the newspaper.
Some 18 suspects were identified during a criminal investigation into the unauthorized highway shutdown meant to stop protestors from marching against Zwarte Piet last November. Police notified the suspects that they are wanted for questioning, the public prosecutor's office announced on Monday.
Gert-Jaap van Ulzen, board member of the VVD in Leeuwarden, resigned from the party following posts he made on Twitter calling anti-Zwarte Piet activists "negro fascists". Faction secretary Joel Heiner confirmed to Omrp Fryslan that Van Ulzen decided to withdraw from the VVD Leeuwarden board after "good consultation" with the other board members.
On Saturday there will be a demonstration against racism and Zwarte Piet in Dokkum. The police will escort the protesters to the Friesland town, to make sure their way isn't block as it was when they were heading to an approved protest at Sinterklaas' national arrival almost two weeks ago, NOS reports.
The demonstration on Saturday is an initiative of Zwarte Piet is Rascisme, Stop Blackface, Free Your Mind, Doorbraak and Progressive Groningen, according to the broadcaster. The protest is scheduled for between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations will arrange a meeting with mayors and local governments to discuss citizens' right to demonstrate and the considerations that should be taken into account when a demonstration is canceled, she said in response to parliamentary questions from DENK MP Tunahan Kuzu, AD reports
A last-minute demonstration ban implemented for the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum this past Saturday had to do with information that protesters planned to use heavy fireworks, Mayor Marga Waanders of Dongeradeel - which covers Dokkum - said in a statement. The statement did not say whether it was pro-Zwarte Piet or anti-Zwarte Piet protesters who had fireworks, AD reports.
"Based on this information, the triangle [police, Prosecutor and mayor] was advised to ban the demonstration, because the safety of all people could no longer be guaranteed", Waanders said.
Over 36 thousand euros was raised in under two days in an action launched to cover any possible fines imposed on people who blocked the A7 highway to stop three buses carrying Kick Out Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching Dokkum on Saturday.
People protesting for keeping Zwarte Piet in blackface makeup, also have to comply with the law, State Secretary Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said in WNL on Sunday. He was referring to a group of people blocking anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the Sinterklaas parade in Dokkum on Saturday, where they had permission to protest against racism.
"I understand the emotions on this subject, but I cannot approve of people stopping everything on a highway," Knops said. "Everyone must abide by the law, including these people."
Buses filled with Zwarte Piet protestors were stopped by a group of about 35 white people stationed on the A7 highway outside Heerenveen, Friesland on Saturday. The protesters were on their way to the official Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum about 50 kilometers away, where they had approval from city officials to march against the character.
Mayor Marga Waanders of Dongeradeel, the police and Public Prosecutor decided to put a stop to a call on Facebook for Friesland residents to try and stop anti-Zwarte Piet activists reaching Dokkum, where Sinterklaas will make his national arrival on Saturday. In an open letter, the Mayor called on everyone coming to see Sinterklaas' arrival to respect each other's opinions.
Sinterklaas, his helpers and everyone going to see him arrive in Dokkum on Saturday are advised to dress warmly and take their raincoats. The weather is expected to be rainy and cold, Weeronline reports
According to the weather service, maximum temperatures in Dokkum on Saturday will reach no higher than 8 degrees. But due to expected rain and a moderate to strong wind, the ambient temperature may drop to freezing point.
Dokkum is getting ready for Sinterklaas' national arrival on Saturday, including putting up decorations and preparing for an anti-Zwarte Piet protest. The municipality of Dongeradeel, which includes Dokkum, gave Kick Out Zwarte Piet permission to protest, but is still working out the exact conditions and arrangements, a spokesperson said to Het Parool.
Kick Out Zwarte Piet announced their protest on Facebook. The protest will be preceded by a "March for Civilization", according to the group.
As the Netherlands' Sinterklaas celebrations approaches, municipalities are starting to reveal their plans on how they're dealing with controversial character Zwarte Piet. Most of the municipalities are sticking to blackface or dark brown makeup, according to AD's Piet Atlas. Amsterdam and The Hague will have no blackface Piets, with Amsterdam also designing a completely new costume. Utrecht plans mostly Chimney Piets - with faces covered in soot marks - and a few traditional blackface Piets. Rotterdam is keeping its plans secret until the day before the celebration.
For the first time in years, Sinterklaas' national arrival may happen without any protests for or against controversial character Zwarte Piet. The national arrival is happening in Dokkum on November 18th. By Wednesday night the municipality of Dongeradeel, which covers Dokkum, received no applications for demonstrations, AD reports.
Sinterklaas' national arrival will be in the Friesland city of Dokkum this year. The saint and his entourage is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, November 18th, RTL Nieuws reports.
Dokkum falls under the municipality of Dongeradeel. Mayor Marga Waanders is delighted that Sinterklaas chose Dokkum for his arrival. "Fantastic news for Dokkum and the region Noordoost Fryslân", she said to the broadcaster. "We will warmly welcome Sinterklaas!"
As usual NTR will follow Sinterklaas and his arrival on the Sinterklaasjournaal with presenter Dieuwertje Blok.
Police were notified this week of an online advertisement for the sale of soap produced during World War II, possibly made from human remains collected at concentration camps. After consulting the Public Prosecutor, officers opened an investigation into the sale, police said on Friday.
A 24-year-old man from Leusden, near Amersfoort, was severely beaten by a large group this weekend.The police are looking for witnesses.