A report by the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) has revised the country's threat level assessment down to level 3 from level 4. The threat of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands is assessed on a five-point scale, with threat level 5 being the most severe and imminent.
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.
The Public Prosecution service is going to prosecute 23 people for criminal offenses around the Facebook live stream of Sinterklaas' national arrival in Amstelveen last year. They suspects are accused of threats, incitement and discrimination and will soon receive their summons, NOS reports.
Activists seek personal protection: Protest organization Kick Out Zwarte Piet has scrapped its public schedule after a violent attack on its activists in Den Haag, wrote Nu.nl, and a threat of rioting at the group's planned roundtable discussion in Hengelo. The Hengelo event set for Monday was cancelled by city politicians at the last minute, according to Tubantia.
Five people were arrested in Den Haag on Friday night, accused of attempted arson and a violent assault against anti-Zwarte Piet activists meeting there, police said. Dozens of people were gathered in the former school building to discuss their activism against the use of blackface and racist caricatures in the Netherlands, when dozens more tried to storm the facility.
The Arnhem-Leeuwarden court of appeal on Thursday convicted 15 pro-Zwarte Piet protesters for their role in blocking the A7 highway to prevent two buses of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum in November 2017. The court did, however, lower their sentences to 90 hours of community service.
Action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is planning to protest in twelve different cities in November against the use of blackface makeup and costuming often adorned by white actors portraying Sinterklaas's helper. The activists consider Zwarte Piet in his traditional form a racist stereotype. On Thursday there were protests in Apeldoorn and Deventer calling for Zwarte Piet to remain in the blackface costume seen mainly over the last hundred years, and which some say is adhering to Dutch tradition.
A number of sponsors are withdrawing from the Sinterklaas arrival event in The Hague this year after they received a letter from anti-racism action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet. The sponsors found the letter threatening, EenVandaag reports.
The Sinterklaas party in The Hague this year will include a mixture of Zwarte Pieten in full blackface makeup and so-called Chimney Pieten with soot marks on their face.
Action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet filed a complaint for being listed as a terrorist group in the Netherlands' Terrorism Threat Assessment for the year 2017. But according to the national coordinator for counter-terrorism and security NCTV, this is a "misunderstanding" and the group is not seen as a terrorist organization, NU.nl reports.
Anti-racism activists will protest in the Friesland village of Grou on Saturday during the arrival of Sint Piter and Swarte Pyt, a local version of Zwarte Piet. The protest was arranged by action group Kick Out Swarte Pyt (KOSP), which consists of the same people as Kick Out Zwarte Piet, one of the best known groups in protests against Sinterklaas' blackface helper, according to newspaper AD.
"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.
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.
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.
The police officers that responded to a blockade on the A7 that prevented two buses of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters reaching the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum last year, completely ignored the protesters on the buses and talked in a friendly way with the people blocking the highway, Jerry Afriyie of action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet said in court on Thursday, RTL Nieuws 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.
With the month of November, and the arrival of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, approaching, the Zwarte Piet discussion is also starting up again. The first demonstrations at the Sint's arrival in Zaanstad on November 17th were announced, though so far only from activists supporting the blackface figure of Zwarte Piet.
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.
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.
On Monday the court in Utrecht sentenced a man from Lelystad to 40 hours of community service, 20 of which conditionally suspended, for posting discriminatory comments on a Facebook post by activist group Kick Out Zwarte Piet, RTL Nieuws reports.
After the national arrival of Sinterklaas in Meppel in 2015, the man wrote under the Kick Out Zwarte Piet post: "Just let them work as slave again then they can't complain anymore it's what they want to work out lazy sweat nigger that's what you are born for", according to the broadcaster.
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."