All 11 members of radical nationalist group Pegida arrested during the national Sinterklaas arrival party in Apeldoorn on Saturday, have been released from custody, the police announced on Sunday. The Pegida demonstrators, dressed as blackface Zwarte Piet, were arrested for refusing to follow police orders. The other Sinterklaas arrival parties throughout the Netherlands happened largely without major incident.
Far-right, anti-Islam group Pegida is calling on people to come to the national Sinterklaas arrival this year dressed as blackface Zwarte Piet. "We want to turn it into a traditional, beautiful children's party again", Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld, dressed in a Sinterklaas costume, said in a video on Facebook.
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.
The court of Haarlem ruled on Wednesday that the appearance of Zwarte Pieten participating in the national arrival of Sinterklaas in Zaandam on Saturday does not have to be adjusted further. The Majority Perspective foundation was not entitled to institute legal proceedings because no prior consultations were held with the defendants, the court said, NU.nl reports.
Good news for everyone going to see Sinterklaas make his national arrival in Zaanstad on Saturday. The weather is expected to be sunny and dry, though a strong and cold east wind means that a warm coat and scarf will be a good idea, Weeronline reports.
Saturday morning will start out foggy, but it should clear up by the time Sinterklaas arrives in Zaandijk at noon. Then it will be sunny "with just a few friendly clouds", according to the weather service. The maximum temperature will climb to around 9 degrees, but due to the wind it will feel around 5 degrees.
The municipality of Zaanstad fears that the Sinterklaas's national arrival on Saturday will have to be canceled if the court rules in favor of the Majority Perspective foundation in summary proceedings the foundation filed. The foundation did not ask for the celebration to be banned outright, as previously reported, but demands that the Zwarte Piet characters be stripped of all stereotypical characteristics and behaviors that they consider racist, NU.nl reports.
The first episode of NTR's kids show Sinterklaasjournaal on Monday featured mainly Chimney Pieten with soot marks on their faces. Only one, played by actor Maarten Wansink, had a completely black face, NU.nl reports.
In the first episode, presenter Dieuwertje Blok made first contact with the steamboat, which has to set course to Zaanstad where Sinterklaas will make his national arrival in the Netherlands on Saturday. The boat hasn't departed yet, because Sinterklaas is not yet on board.
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.
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.
To prevent the national arrival of Sinterklaas from getting out of hand, the municipality of Zaandstad is implementing extra security measures and strict rules for protestors. Demonstrators will have fixed areas for their protests, far away from other protesting groups, and there will be access gates and extra searches at the arrival on November 17th, ANP reports.
The area where Sinterklaas arrives, will be closed down with fences. Visitors can only enter through access gates, where bags and jackets will be searched. No glassware or drones will be allowed.
The Zaanstad Sinterklaas committee, the largest in the Zaanstreek, will not participate in the national Sinterklaas arrival in Zaandijk on November 17th. A statement by broadcaster NTR, the organizer of the national arrival, led the committee to the conclusion that no blackface Zwarte Pieten will be allowed to participate in the arrival for the first time. But according to a spokesperson for NTR, this is not the case at all.
The Sinterklaasjournaal will feature only "Chimney Pieten" with soot on their faces this year, broadcaster NTR said in a statement on its website. How black the Pieten's faces will be remains vague. The amount of soot on their faces depends on how often they've gone through the chimney, the broadcaster said.
In the statement NTR addressed a number of questions around Sinterklaas' national arrival in Zaanstad on November 17th, and his controversial helper Zwarte Piet. On the question how the Pieten will look in the popular kids' show, NTR said:
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.
The municipality of Maasluis will be using mostly black Zwarte Piets at Sinterklaas' national arrival on November 12th this year, Mayor Edo Haan said to RTV Rijnmond.