Supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet will get their own spots to demonstrate on Saturday, at Sinterklaas’ arrival in Eindhoven.
The Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) and Eindhoven Kan Het (Eindhoven Can Do It) activists will get a spot at the Kanaaldijk-Noord/Tongelresestraat intersection. Zwarte Piet’s supporters will about 300 meters away. These are members of people of Pegida. All this is not far from the place where Sinterklaas and his Pieten are to arrive by boat. They will come in on Kanaaldijk, just outside the ring road.
It is expected that KOZP and Eindhoven Kan Het will be 25 to 30 strong. Pegida expects about 200 protestors, according to the Municipality. The Municipality has also granted a demonstration request for ‘Sinterklaasfeest als traditie’ (‘Sinterklaas Festival as a tradition’). This group will be on the corner of Doctor Cuyperslaan and Winston Churchilllaan on Saturday.
In the days before the Sinterklaas’ arrival, on Wednesday and Friday, there will also be two demonstrations. Wednesday is Pegida’s turn; on Friday the ‘Eindhoven Maintains Zwarte Piet’ group takes to the streets. It is not yet known where these two demonstrations will take place.
Freedom of speech
Mayor John Jorritsma says that he wants to give the activists space, in the interest of freedom of speech. However, he is imposing conditions on the demonstrations. These conditions are to prevent similar riots to those of last year. Then, KOZP members were pelted with cans of beer. A policeman was also assaulted, and 16 pro-Zwarte Piet demonstrators were arrested.
One of the conditions set by Jorritsma is that demonstrators stay at their designated area. Also, the action groups must provide supervisors themselves. These people have to ensure things do not get out of hand. The groups must let the police know if disturbances threaten to occur. Furthermore, KOZP and Pegida are not allowed to attach thick sticks and rods to banners.
The parade’s organisers decided to no longer include Zwarte Piet as of next year. This year there will still be Zwarte Pieten at the Eindhoven Sinterklaas parade.
Editor: Melinda Walraven