Friday 10 July 2020

Rutte’s Black Lives Matter talks don’t include demo organisers

Black Lives Matter campaigners in Enschede earlier this month. Photo: Depositphotos.com

A meeting billed as being between prime minister Mark Rutte and Black Lives Matter campaigners has been condemned by the organisers of the recent protests in the Netherlands, because they were not invited to take part.

Jerry Afrijie, a leading light in the Kick Out Zwarte Piet movement which helped organise anti-racism demos all over the country, said on Twitter on that the meeting appeared to be no more than a publicity stunt.

In a statement on the website Nederland Wordt Beter, KOZP said it had organised demonstrations in Rotterdam, Leeuwarden, Almere, Eindhoven, Den Bosch, The Hague, Nijmegen, Haarlem, Middelburg and Amsterdam, together with a number of other organisations.

‘Black Lives Matter Nederland’ is not a formally organised action group but a growing coalition of different campaign groups, parties and individuals which are calling out institutional racism in the Netherlands,’ the statement said.

‘We are disappointed that the prime minister wants to talk … about “how the conversation about racism in society can be properly facilitated” rather than about how to develop policy to counteract institutionalised racism. We see this as a diversion.’

The talks are taking place on Wednesday afternoon at the prime minister’s official residence. Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus and home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren are also on the guest list.

Earlier this month, Rutte said he had changed his mind about the blackface Zwarte Piet character and admitted racism is a problem in the Netherlands.

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