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.
“Downright disgusting”, is what Dutch football association KNVB called racist chants by FC Den Bosch fans directed at Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira on Sunday. “This does not belong on a football field”, Jan Bluyssen, KNVB’s competition affairs manager, said to NOS.
On Sunday referee Laurens Gerrets had to stop a match between FC Den Bosch and Excelsior for ten minutes, due to FC Den Bosch fans’ behavior. Songs about Zwarte Piet and monkey chanting were heard from the fanatic M-side every time Moreira had the ball, according to the broadcaster.
Several people Including the head of radical nationalist group Pegida were arrested in Apeldoorn at the national arrival of Sinterklaas, the winter holiday folklore character who brings gifts to children. Police say that most of those arrested were protestors who refused orders to move to a cordoned off area for demonstrations.
The vast majority of Dutch municipalities are staying out of the discussion around the appearance of Zwarte Piet at the Sinterklaas arrival parties in their cities. Only a small number set conditions regarding the controversial character in the Sinterklaas tradition, NOS reports after speaking to the 120 largest municipalities in the Netherlands, three quarters of which responded to the broadcaster's questions.
A 49-year-old man from The Hague was arrested on Monday after publishing a social media post in which he threatened to attack activists with a bomb by blowing himself up as a way of shutting down what he called the "anti-Zwarte Piet movement." He emphasized in the message on Facebook that he "is not joking," and said he wanted to carry out the attack to defend the Sinterklaas tradition as it has been celebrated "for 100 years."
The supervisory board of the National Union of Journalists, a leading journalism labour union in the United Kingdom, passed a motion unanimously late last week that encourages reporters and editors covering the Zwarte Piet character in the Dutch Sinterklaas celebration to do so in a non-discriminatory way. Journalists were reminded of the union's Race Reporting Guidelines, which states that publications should not "originate material which encourages discrimination on the grounds of race or colour".
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 national Sinterklaas arrival party in Apeldoorn can happen without any blackface Zwarte Piet characters, according to the court in Arnhem. The court ruled against a lawsuit demanding that the municipality of Apeldoorn revoke the permit for the party because Sinterklaas will only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten - Piet characters with soot marks on their faces instead of blackface makeup, NOS reports.
From next year Eindhoven will follow the line of the Sinterklaasjournaal and drop blackface Zwarte Pieten from its arrival party, the municipality and Stichting Sint-Nicolaas, the foundation responsible for organizing the Sinterklaas arrival party, announced on Monday. But this year there will still be blackface Zwarte Pieten among the crowd of other-color Pieten at the party, Eindhovens Dagblad reports.
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.
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.
The Dutch government must take the lead in combating racism, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia, Tendayi Achiume.
This year Sinterklaas will only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten at his national arrival in Apeldoorn on November 16th. All of Sinterklaas' helpers will have soot marks on their faces, instead of the traditional blackface makeup, NTR announced on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
The Ministry of Social Affairs is organizing a meeting for municipalities to discuss how they can tackle polarization on sensitive topics like blackface Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet and the construction of wind farms in the transition to green energy. At the meeting on Wednesday, municipalities can exchange experiences and tactics on how they deal with tensions between different groups, a spokesperson for the Ministry said to RTL Nieuws.
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.
Primary schools in large cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague and the municipalities around them are increasingly using Pieten with soot marks on their faces in the Sinterklaas celebration, rather than the traditional blackface Zwarte Piet, according to a survey of over 580 schools by DUO Education Research & Advice, NU.nl reports.
Witnesses say a gunman dressed as Zwarte Piet opened fire in the Ondiep district of Utrecht and was at-large late Monday afternoon. Police said one person was injured in the shooting on Rietstraat at about 1:10 p.m. on Monday.
A resident on the scene at the time of the shooting told newspaper AD that the suspect jumped out of a white vehicle and shot at the victim's car. The newspaper said a bullet hole was visible in the windshield of a Volkswagen, which was located near an elementary school.
The proportion of Dutch who think that Sinterklaas' controversial helper must stay in his traditional blackface form decreased from 65 percent in 2016 to around 50 percent this year, according to a survey by research agency I&O Research among 3,145 Dutch aged 18 or older, NOS reports.
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.