Dutch protesters planning demos for and against Black Pete

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — As Dutch children eagerly anticipate the arrival of their country’s version of Santa Claus this weekend, opponents and supporters of his controversial helper Black Pete are gearing up for protests.

Demonstrations for and against Black Pete have become almost as much of a tradition as the arrival of Sinterklaas, the white-bearded, red-robed Dutch version of Saint Nicholas.

Black Pete is often played by white people with their faces daubed in dark makeup. Supporters see him as a traditional children’s character, while opponents decry him as a racist stereotype.

The nationally televised arrival parade is Saturday in the picturesque village of Zaandijk, north of Amsterdam.

Geralt Lammers, spokesman for Zaandam municipality, which includes Zaandijk, said Friday that protest groups, two in favor and two against, have said they will stage demonstrations.

Categories: International News