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Anti-Piet demonstrators in Amsterdam, 2013. Wikipedia

Confrontation between anti- and pro Zwarte Piet supporters in The Hague

A national congress of the action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (abbreviated as KOZP) in the Beatrijsstraat was disrupted this week.

Published: November 9, 2019, 8:54 am

    The Hague

    KOZP is an action group that is committed to changing the traditional parade of Zwarte Piet. They had gathered this week for the national congress in a squat on Beatrice Street in The Hague.

    A number of supporters of keeping Zwarte Piet in the traditional form, apparently had heard of the meeting and they were having none of it. The Dutch media described them as “hooligans”.

    About ten minutes after the start of the meeting, there was a knock at the door, and it became clear that the “pro-Piete” were at the door. The opponents said they quickly barricaded the doors and called the police.

    Law enforcement arrived in large numbers and a police helicopter even circled above the meeting place.

    In addition to the regular surveillance vehicles, dog handlers from the police also arrived at the scene, as well as a cell box to remove any arrested persons. According to the police, four arrests were ultimately made.

    According to members of the KOZP action group, the door of the building was allegedly damaged by fireworks, and vandalism was reported when the car one of the members of the action group was damaged.

    Major explosions were expected involving heavy fireworks or explosives, sources told news outlet regio15.nl. That is probably why the fire brigade was also alerted, they said.

    The Zwarte Piet incident drew more media attention than when a plane at Schiphol from the airline Air Europa, triggered a hijack alarm. As a result, all the protocols that apply to hijackings at airports were put into operation.

    The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee had reported a suspicious situation on board an aircraft that was leaving for Madrid. There were more than twenty passengers on board who were asked to leave the plane.

    But Air Europa reported that nothing had happened and that all passengers were safe and could quickly take another flight. The airline apologized on Twitter for the incident. “It was a false alarm, nothing wrong.”

    A Marechaussee spokesperson said no arrests were made, but he was unable to confirm Air Europa’s reading of what had happened. “Further investigation by the Marechaussee must show what exactly was going on,” said Mayor Marianne Schuurmans of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer.

    The false alarm had led to dozens of flights being delayed, Schiphol reported. A heavily armed arrest team immediately arrived after the alarm. Two trauma helicopters were also called, but they proved unnecessary in the end. All flights were delayed by order of the authorities.

    During a VVD meeting on nitrogen, with a few hundred concerned farmers, Prime Minister Mark Rutte received a letter with the “good news” about the situation at Schiphol. He said he had been ready to leave the meeting with the farmers.

    The cameras from the Schiphol tunnel were turned off by order of the traffic center and Pier D was completely blocked by order of the airport.

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