The nationalist anti-Islam group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (Pegida) is encouraging people to flood the national Sinterklaas arrival this November dressed in traditional Zwarte Piet blackface.
Public broadcaster NTR recently announced that this year the national entry of Sinterklaas will not include Zwarte Piet in full blackface makeup; instead, Sinterklaas’s helper will be a so-called ‘Chimney Piet’ wearing streaked soot stains.
The far-right group announced their dissatisfaction with the change in a Facebook video captioned, “We will not let our beautiful children’s party be destroyed by a bunch of ZeikPieten (“Nagging Petes”), help us and come en masse to Apeldoorn on November 16 as Zwarte Piet.”
The 34 second video features Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld dressed in a Sinterklaas costume and flanked by two blackfaced Zwarte Piets wearing black wigs, painted red lips, and gold hoop earrings. Wagensveld claims in the Facebook video, “It is a small group that has problems with Zwarte Piet. That minority must accept this tradition. Now the state broadcaster is organizing a party for a minority at the expense of the taxpayer.” According to Wagensveld, “We want to turn it into a traditional, beautiful children’s party again.”
Omroep Gelderland reports a spokesperson from the municipality of Apeldoorn responded to the video saying, “Anyone who wants to come and watch the national entry to Apeldoorn is very welcome, even if you are painted as Zwarte Piet. If people want to demonstrate against Piet’s appearance, we ask these people to report to us. There are possibilities for this along the route.”