This week, the PILP filed an appeal against a decision issued by the Mayor of Sittard-Geleen. The decision imposed restrictive conditions on a local demonstration protesting Black Pete. Activists who wanted to protest could only convey ‘positive messages’, and, as such, no statements about racism in connection with the festivities of Sinterklaas could be made.
The imposition of such conditions by the mayor constitutes censorship. It interferes with the activists’ freedom of expression and their right to protest; a violation of national, constitutional and human rights law.
Freedom of expression is particularly vulnerable where opinions are less popular and must be protected. The Mayor should know this.
The Mayor’s decision appears to be part of a worrying trend in the Netherlands. Over the past few years, the right to protest and freedom of expression of several groups, ranging from opponents of Black Pete to opponents of refugees, have been restricted. This is one of the reasons the PILP has decided to litigate this issue.
Read more about the right to protest in our file.