Sure, here at DutchReview we also love Sinterklaas – especially if it’s inclusive for everyone (as it should be), but maybe people are taking things just a little too far when they deliberately block traffic and cause accidents? We wonder if they’ll get a spanking from Piet…
“We the People” (Who Like Zwarte Piet)
This past Saturday Sinterklaas was set to arrive in Dokkum, a small town in rural Friesland, together with his Pieten-helpers. Sinterklaas’ traditional arrival is a greatly anticipated event every year, for kids at least, and he appears to be arriving simultaneously at a number of places – but only one “officially”.
Thankfully though the arrival itself went fine, no incidents, just happy kids – the same can not be said about the surrounding events…
A group of protesters, dubbed ‘Anti-Piet Activists’, also made their way from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to small Dokkum to protest from a specially appointed piece of ground so they could let their arguments be heard against “Black Piet”. In previous years there were at least some issues with the “Kick Out Black Piet”-demonstrators who were a little too noisy and intimidating for some kids to handle.
As a result a group of local Frisians, who got together on Facebook after catching wind of the protesters coming their way, jumped into their car and raced towards the access points of Friesland. Organizer Martin says: “We are ordinary people who have used non-violent means to stop them from demonstrating right between our kids.”
The part Martin left out though is that they also caused a number of traffic accidents in the process.
Martin & Crew: Protecting Zwarte Piet Near You!
The group of ‘Pro Zwarte Piet’ counter-protesters almost missed the three buses of activists because they had driven to the Afsluitdijk, which runs from Noord-Holland to Frisia, to intercept them. But soon the group of “Sinterklaas Vigilantes” caught word that they were coming in through the A7 freeway instead, and then raced to catch them there.
All in all, ten ‘vigilante’ cars overtook the buses and then came to a halt, blocking all traffic for twenty minutes. As expected, abruptly shutting down a freeway without any assistance or oversight is not a great idea.
Needless to say, police is not happy with the situation: “Everything suddenly came to a halt. A couple of people didn’t see that coming and it’s caused several small rear-end collisions, which was almost unavoidable.”
Currently the District Attorney is looking into legal action together with the police against the ‘Sinterklaas Vigilantes’ who blocked traffic. Martin said police took all their license plate numbers and information and they will hear back from law enforcement soon enough. The mayor of Dokkum too expressed her dislike of the situation, as the Anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators were using their legal rights, and she was forced to ban all protests – whether pro or anti to avoid further escalation.
To be fair, the group did succeed in stopping the demonstrators, so they got what they want. The question is whether or not they bit off more than they could handle?