Riot police deployed in Zwarte Piet demonstration in Maastricht

On Saturday afternoon, a planned demonstration against Zwarte Piet in Maastricht was disrupted by counter-protesters. Tensions at the scene escalated, leading to violence and police intervention.

The action group Kick Out Zwarte (KOZP) had a permit from the municipality to demonstrate against the blackface character on the Vrijthof (a central square). But when counter-protesters gathered and the atmosphere became threatening, the police mobile unit had to intervene.

They used horses and dogs to keep the counter-protesters at a distance. The police were pelted with fireworks.

KOZP spokesperson tells NU that demonstrating at the second scene was impossible. “That place was almost next to the Vrijthof. There were a lot of threats and a lot of violence. People threw things and there was shouting. We, therefore, stopped our action prematurely.”

Violence at the second location

The demonstration was moved to a new secret location, a nearby shopping area, under police escort. But the effort was to no avail — the peaceful protesters were soon surrounded again by hundreds of counter-demonstrators.

Police facilitate a safe ending

About an hour and a half later, when Zwarte Piet protesters decided to end the demonstration, the police helped facilitate a safe ending.

Maastricht Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake is disappointed the police had to intervene. She says, “Demonstration is a fundamental right, so a demonstration cannot simply be prohibited. It is our duty to protect that fundamental right, even in this corona time, because demonstrations are an exception. It is hard to justify people who wanted to disrupt the demonstration.”

What do you think of the Zwarte Piet protests and counter-protests? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Ben Koorengevel/Unsplash

Brin Andrews
Brin Andrewshttp://brinandrews.com
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Who is the Dutch ‘Vegan Streaker’? The naked truth

Few are more passionate and devoted to animal rights activism than the Vegan Streaker. Peter Janssen strongly believes in ending the intensive livestock industry...

Eight million vaccinated in June? ‘Geen probleem’ with latest Dutch vaccination strategy

Back in March, the outgoing Dutch Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, claimed that anyone in the Netherlands who wants to get vaccinated against...

Dutch police officer punches 17-year-old boy in the face, apologizes

A Rotterdam police officer has apologised after footage was recorded of him punching a 17-year-old boy on Liberation Day. The boy had been part...
X