Kick Out Zwarte Piet announced on Monday that they were planning peaceful protests in 18 cities across the country, including Leeuwarden, Dokkum and Groningen.
The national arrival will take place in Zaandijk, just outside of Amsterdam, on the 17th of November. The activist group, which has been protesting during the national arrivals in recent years and opposes the racist depiction of Zwarte Piet, has not publicly announced any plans to be present in Zaandijk this year.
NOS reports that the mayor of the municipality Zaanstad has granted permission for protests, but many local residents have vocally opposed any efforts to compromise. The municipality threatened to withdraw from organising the celebrations after the national broadcaster NTR said they would have Piet with a smudged face instead of blackface. NTR backpedalled after the outcry and conceded to having black-painted Piet, although there may be changes to the character’s oversized lips, black wig and jewellery.
Even though the group has permission to protest in Zaandijk, Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) is instead planning to organise demonstrations in 18 cities, including Groningen, Leeuwarden and Dokkum, which hosted the national arrival last year. Several buses full of protestors that were travelling to Dokkum last year were prevented from reaching the city by 34 men and women who parked vehicles on the motorway and brought traffic to a standstill.
The so-called “blockade Frisians” were in court last month for violating the protestor’s freedom to peacefully demonstrate. They have yet to be formally sentenced, but the public prosecutor has recommended community service and several months in jail for different defendants.
In the description of the various events on Facebook, the KOZP group writes that they are still striving toward the goal of ensuring that Sinterklaas celebrations are inclusive for all children. “Even though there has been much resistance to peaceful protests during Sinterklaas’ arrival, we are seeing that the protests are starting to bring about change.”
Sinterklaas’ arrival parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday the 17th in Dokkum, 12 p.m. in Leeuwarden and 1 p.m. in Groningen. The other locations where the group is planning to be present at Amstelveen, Apeldoorn, The Hague, Den Helder, Dordrecht, Eindhoven, Gouda, Hoorn, Maassluis, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, Weesp, Zwolle, Tilburg and Willemstad in Curaçao.