Protestors against the ‘vestige of slavery’ featured in Christmas celebrations were blockaded on a motorway and an ‘action group’ invaded a school
An annual debate in the Netherlands about the Christmas practice of white people blackening their faces, colouring their lips red and donning wigs to play Zwarte Piet, a sidekick to Saint Nicholas, has this year descended into street brawls, vandalism and a conviction for inciting racial hatred.
The characterisation of Zwarte Piet – or Black Pete – has divided Dutch society in recent years. In 2015 the UN stepped in to declare it was a “vestige of slavery”. Some major cities, including Amsterdam and The Hague, have refashioned Zwarte Piet’s image, or done away with him altogether, to avoid accusations of racism.