‘This is the low point in the entire Zwarte Piet debate in The Hague. This kind of verbal and physical violence does not provide a solution. ” Peter Boelhouwer, organiser of the arrival of Sinterklaas in The Hague, is speaking. The violent disruption of the Kick Out Zwarte Piet meeting in The Hague has taken hold of him.

Pro-Zwarte Piet campaigners tried to enter a building in the Beatrijssstraat in The Hague last Friday where a national meeting of Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) was held. Windows of the building were smashed and the rear window of the car of the Kick Out Zwarte Piet leader Mitchell Esajas was smashed. Five people were arrested, two of whom are still detained.

According to Peter Boelhouwer, this violence does not contribute to the discussion. “Everyone has the right to make his or her position clear on this theme, but without violence.” He also believes that this type of discussion does not belong to the arrival of Sinterklaas. ‘I therefore call for both supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet, who want to take action, not to do this during the arrival of Sinterklaas on Saturday. Then stay at home. “

“They are killing a children’s party”

Boelhouwer is not happy that he always has to respond to the issue. ‘Both supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet are killing a children’s party with their behavior and statements. We spend more and more energy on extra security around the entry as a result of these arguments, while we mainly want to be busy with organizing a fun and enjoyable children’s event. ‘

Incidentally, Boelhouwer emphasises that he is not in itself against an external change of Zwarte Piet. “But that must be gradual and not pushed through the throat.” The organiser says he is not about the color of the people. ‘Almost 500 volunteers participate in the entry. We decide together how the color will become. 

1Still a nice party

Last Friday ‘s violent action does not provide extra security measures during the Sinterklaas entry. Everything will continue as planned. It became clear earlier that a number of donors no longer wanted to sponsor the arrival of Sinterklaas in The Hague , after Kick Out Zwarte Piet had sent them an email. By withdrawing the sponsors, this year’s entry would have a more sober character. The organiser does not want to mention any amounts.

According to Peter Boelhouwer, the adjustments due to less income are not that bad. Good agreements have been made with the municipality of The Hague to make it a fun party again this year, says Boelhouwer. In the meantime, a number of crowdfunding campaigns have been started by Hagenaars to financially support the entry. Yet Boelhouwer says he does not want to accept money from citizens for the event. Boelhouwer: ‘The entry is being held from the municipality of The Hague and it must remain that way. If citizens want to do something, let them, for example, organise something fun from the collected money for all the volunteers involved in the entry.” 

 

Photo: zoetnet