Battle over 'Black Pete': Dutch anti-racism protesters clash with police as they try to stop blacked-up Santa's helper bringing gifts to children... while supporters of tradition insist controversial minstrel look is just chimney SOOT (10 Pics)

ANTI-racism protesters today clashed with people dressed as the controversial Dutch Christmas character 'Black Pete' at holiday parades in the Netherlands.
Scattered confrontations broke out between supporters and opponents of the divisive Dutch Santa Claus' assistant who helps deliver presents to children.
Members of Dutch football club PSV stand in front of anti-racist demonstrators of Kick Out Black Pete in Eindhoven. The traditional Christmas character sparks fierce debate in the Netherlands

To dress up as the Christmas helper, known as Zwarte Piet, people daub their faces with black paint, sparking fierce debates over whether depictions of Black Pete promote racist stereotypes.
The character first appeared in an 1850 book by Amsterdam schoolteacher Jan Schenkman, and traditionally, Zwarte Piet is depicted as black because he is a Moor from Spain.
As well as painted skin, those dressing up also wear curly wigs, red lips and colourful Renaissance-style costumes.
While a nationally televised parade to welcome Sinterklaas in the historic village of Zaandijk north of Amsterdam went off peacefully, parades across the country experienced a number of confrontations between protesters and supporters of Black Pete.
Black Petes during the arrival of Sinterklaas in Monnickendam, Netherlands. Traditional depictions show Black Pete with dark skin, curly wigs and red lips


The arrival of Sinterklaas and his helper Black Pete in Monnickendam. Santa's helper was said to deliver presents to children in the Netherlands


A Zwarte Piete stands in front of the protest in Eindhoven


Police said a number of protests had been held at Black Pete events around the Netherlands
Police in Rotterdam tweeted they made three arrests as supporters of Black Pete clashed with anti-Pete protesters, but added that the vast majority of events were peaceful.
In the northern city of Leeuwarden, police said they "prevented two groups getting into a fight."
In nearby Groningen, police separated two groups of protesters to prevent a confrontation.
Police in The Hague said riot police kept pro-Pete activists away from anti-Pete protesters as they were escorted to the city's main railway station.
The character has drawn criticism for its 'black face' appearance


Anti-racist demonstrators who want to protest Den Helder are prevented by police from travelling further than Alkmaar


To dress up as the Christmas helper, known as Zwarte Piet, people daub their faces with black paint, sparking fierce debates over whether depictions of Black Pete promote racist stereotypes


While a nationally televised parade to welcome Sinterklaas went off peacefully, parades across the country experienced a number of confrontations between protesters and supporters of Black Pete
The arrival of Sinterklaas and his helpers Black Pete in Monnickendam

Dutch media also reported that soccer fans confronted a small group of anti-Pete protesters in the southern city of Eindhoven.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte had appealed for calm on Friday, saying: "I think society agrees on one thing: we grant children the magic of the Sinterklaas party."
Critics have argued that Black Pete's Afro hair, black skin, red lips and earrings are a reminder of the era when the Netherlands exploited slaves, notably in Surinam.
But many Dutch strongly defend the character, saying his face is black because of soot from the chimneys he descends to bring presents to excited children.
Battle over 'Black Pete': Dutch anti-racism protesters clash with police as they try to stop blacked-up Santa's helper bringing gifts to children... while supporters of tradition insist controversial minstrel look is just chimney SOOT (10 Pics) Battle over 'Black Pete': Dutch anti-racism protesters clash with police as they try to stop blacked-up Santa's helper bringing gifts to children... while supporters of tradition insist controversial minstrel look is just chimney SOOT (10 Pics) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:10 Rating: 5

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