“It’s a children’s party”, cried Zwarte Pieten defenders, as Piet cosplayers doused protesters’ cars in fuel and brutally attacked them.
Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, joined forces with Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) on Saturday to protest against the Sinterklaas entry into Staphorst, in the northeast of the Netherlands.
It was at the entrance to Staphorst that these protesters were attacked by a hostile mob in Pieten cosplay, reports the NOS.
What the Dutch is a Zwarte Piet?
When Sinterklaas visits a city, he is accompanied by Zwarte Pieten, which are usually (white) Dutch people wearing blackface, afro wigs, and over-lined red lips.
These Pieten have become rather controversial in recent years, and some cities (such as Amsterdam) have even gone so far as to cut funding for parades that contain them, citing racism as a big reason why.
Protesters were attacked
Both KOZP and Amnesty International had planned a demonstration in the village of Staphorst, as its Sinterklaas celebrations were still accompanied by Zwarte Pieten.
However, before the protesters could enter the village, they were surrounded by dozens of rioters, some of whom were dressed up as Pieten.
Armed with eggs and fireworks, the rioters and cosplayers initially attempted to drive the protesters away.
B-b-but think of the children!
Cosplayers shouted things like “get out!” and “it’s a children’s party!” as they violently threw eggs and fireworks at protesters, whilst dousing their cars with fuel.
Not satisfied with just driving off the anti-Pieten protesters, confused cosplayers also used a tractor to pen a car in, so that the mob could continue the attack for half an hour.
The mayor of Staphorst was finally forced to ban the demonstration out of safety concerns.
A police investigation has been launched
The Overijssel Police published a press release on Saturday, which details that they have launched an investigation into the Staphorst riots.
Both international treaties and Dutch law uphold the right to make peaceful demonstrations, and any hindrances count as an offence.
What do you think of this attack? Tell us all about it in the comments below!