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'Soros-Backed': Public Takes Swipe at Black Pete Protestors in Netherlands

© Wikipedia / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_PietIn the Netherlands, black-faced helpers called "Zwarte Piet" (Black Pete) assist Santa Claus. The custom has been condemned as racist for its use of blackface.
In the Netherlands, black-faced helpers called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) assist Santa Claus. The custom has been condemned as racist for its use of blackface. - Sputnik International
A servant, widely known as Black Pete, has traditionally accompanied the Dutch Santa Clause, helping him deliver Christmas presents, and is greatly anticipated by kids all around the country. However, Dutch society is not new to rallies against the “racism”-provoking character, but this year a great many voices could be heard in his favour.

The Netherlands has witnessed a number of clashes between supporters and opponents of the contentious Christmas character called Black Pete, with people traditionally painting their faces dark to play the character, a famed helper of the Dutch Santa Claus.

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However, opponents have come forward claiming the practice promotes racist stereotypes. Police in Rotterdam, one of the cities where protests have been held, tweeted that they made three arrests throughout the clashes between the demonstrators and Black Pete proponents.

Meanwhile, a televised nationwide parade to welcome Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of St. Nicholas, into the historic village of Zaandijk, in the Amsterdam suburbs, was not interrupted by clashes, which, conversely, took place in Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen and a number of other Dutch locations.

Many rushed to Twitter to share their ideas under a corresponding hashtag, with one claiming that not wanting to offend doesn’t automatically mean that something is not “being offensive.”

The same person further referred to performances involving Black Pete not as traditional, but as “nostalgic racism that people try to indoctrinate children with.”

Another even admitted to being ashamed to say she wore black face in her childhood thinking “it’d bring happiness.” “It took moving to another country to learn how messed up this is,” she added.

Many more focused on violence, “hooligan groups” flooding the demonstrations in protest, and, most certainly, the authorities' approach.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, meanwhile, called for calm but expressed doubt whether the tradition should stay intact. “I think society agrees on one thing — we grant children the magic of the Sinterklaas party,” he stressed.

Some netizens, however, attempted to come up with sober, sense-driven comments in defence, noting that Black Pete is black due to climbing down the chimney, suggesting his face resembles to a greater extent that of a coalminer than an African person. Someone even suggested the social move was financed or backed by well-known leftist donor George Soros.

Meanwhile, users started reposting links to a report by the Dutch media outlet Dotcomnieuws, stating that the organization New Urban, which is one of those behind the protests, received funds from Soros in 2014 and 2015.

Other countries, such as Sweden, which also upholds such a tradition, have also been mentioned:

Many have openly defended Black Pete as nothing more than innocent “fun for the kids”:

But many pondered on the peaceful Black Pete demonstrations being countered by violence from the proponents’ side. “Somehow they are the good guys?” one asked emotionally, with many more weighing in the debate.

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