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."
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.
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.
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.
Both intelligence service AIVD and the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof contacted Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb prior to Sinterklaas' arrival in Maassluis on Saturday to warn him about possible clashes between anti-blackface Zwarte Piet activists, right-wing protesters and hooligans, the mayor said in a debate with his city council on Thursday, NOS reports.
Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is plainning at least three more protests against blackface Zwarte Piet in the coming weeks, the organization announced on Thursday, ANP reports.
The group will hold "peaceful protests" at Sinterklaas' arrival in Leiden on November 19th, in Utrecht on November 26th and Rotterdam on November 207th.
Rotterdam police arrested two men on Friday morning after they exchanged heated messages back and forth on social media. One person was in favor of the winter mythical character, Zwarte Piet, remaining in blackface, while the other was opposed to the character, police said.
Only the 57-year-old man from Amsterdam was accused of making a threat. Both he and a 26-year-old from Utrecht are alleged of encouraging public disorder and criminal behavior.
Anti-blackface group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) plans to protest in Maassluis during Sinterklaas' national arrival on November 12th. "For us 2016 will be the last year that December has an aftertaste of colonialism, slavery and opression", the group said according to RTL Nieuws.
According to the KOZP, Zwarte Piet in his current form is a racist figure.
One person died over the weekend after participating in a protest against Swarte Pyt, the Frisian version of Zwarte Piet also portrayed in blackface makeup. The protestor died of natural causes on a bus returning to the Randstad area after the protest in Grou, Friesland on Saturday
Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is pressing charges against people who left racist comments on a photo the group posted on Facebook.