Rotterdam police have adopted the Piet disguise, daubing their faces with blacking and donning a curly wig, to observe “suspicious” behaviour on the streets of Rotterdam
Officers have already caught one suspected thief in possession of a stolen iPad by adopting the controversial camouflage of Black Peter, who accompanies a white Sinterklass in the run-up to and during celebrations of Saint Nicholas eve on Wednesday.
But as well as catching out thieves, the police have found themselves handing warnings for insulting behaviour as the blacked up officers disguised as Zwarte Pieten came in for “discriminatory and dirty sexual remarks”.
“You would not want to know all the things that are shouted at Piets,” a police spokesman told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.
Christmas celebrations begin this week in the low countries with the appearance of Sinterklaas and his Black Peter assistants, usually young people in blackface with made-up big red lips, a black curly-haired wig and dressed up like a 17th century page.
- ‘Holland: ‘Black Peter’ (Zwarte Pieten) to come (innerisness.com)
- White Santa Claus, Black Pete, & racism – thenews.com.pk (innerisness.com)
- Dutch tradition caught in racist accusations | euronews, world news (innerstandingisness.com)
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