Dutch town prohibits protests over Zwarte Piet

Peaceful Assembly

On 18th of November 2017, prior to the arrival of Sinterklaas Festival in Dokkum, anti-Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) demonstrators were blocked from continuing their bus journey when Black Pete supporters stopped their cars on the side of the highway and walked onto the road in front of the buses. 

The mayor of Dokkum had prohibited the protest, because he could not guarantee the safety of both the protesters and the visitors of the Sinterklaas festivities. The action group "Kick Out Black Pete" - the symbol of which is regarded by the group as a "vestige of slavery" - reacted to the incident, stating that: "It is a disgrace, and with the help of the system, the rioters succeeded in reversing the right to demonstrate in this country".

After the incident, the European Network against Racism issued a letter to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, condemning the mayor's actions and lack of police protection when the anti-Black Pete demonstrators were blocked by far-right supporters. In the letter, the Network declared that: "The right to freedom of assembly should be enjoyed without discrimination".