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 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.


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

Dutch HORECA rarely reprimanded for ignoring coronavirus measures

HORECA establishments aren't complying with the coronavirus measures, and municipalities are not giving them so much as a warning for this. On September 25,...

You’re under arrest: thousands of Dutchies targeted by phishing calls

Since August, thousands of Dutchies have received suspicious phone calls in which cyber-criminals try to get their personal information, such as citizen service (BSN)...

Nee, echt?! One of the wettest natural areas in the Netherlands is drying up

Nature lovers may already be familiar with the Dutch nature reserve called the Veluwe. The 91,200-hectare area is a popular recreational area that offers...

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.