Netherlands Black Pete

In this Nov. 17, 2013 file photo people line the road to watch the arrival of Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, center, and his blackface sidekick “Zwarte Piet”, or Black Pete, in Amsterdam. On Thursday, July 3, 2014, an Amsterdam court has stated the figure known as “Black Pete” is a negative stereotype and the city must rethink its involvement in holiday celebrations involving the figure. Debate over the figure of Black Pete has intensified in the Netherlands in recent years as opponents argue it is a racist caricature, while supporters say it is a harmless figure of fun. Thursday’s ruling regards a specific challenge to the city of Amsterdam’s decision to grant a permit for an annual party attended by thousands of children. In Dutch tradition, St. Nicholas arrives by steamboat with scores of Petes handing out cookies and presents. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

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