Court Case: The freedom of expression of Jerry King Luther Afriyie

What happens in The Netherlands when you speak out publicly against racism and discrimination within the country…

by KNO’LEDGE CESARE AND NEDERLAND WORDT BETER

(Wherever you are, please donate if you can)

On Wednesday, August 26th, 2015, poet Jerry King Luther Afriyie, known as Kno’Ledge Cesare, has to appear in court at 1 PM at a public hearing in The Hague. The official charge is: contumacy (rebellion) and assaulting a policeman during the national arrival of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) and his racists sidekicks known as Zwarte Piet (Black Petes) in Gouda on November 15, 2014. This is the world upside down, because if someone has been assaulted that day, it’s Jerry Afriyie and not the other way around. Watch the video of the arrest below:

Background information about Saint Nicholas and his racist sidekicks known as Zwarte Piet can be found here.

TAKE ACTION

1) Share this event and the video of the arrest in your network, spread the word across the globe!
Even if you are not physically present on Wednesday August 26, your ‘Going’ is supporting both Afriyie and the movement.

2) Show solidarity and DONATE whatever you can give
Jerry Afriyie is involved in three court cases: an appeal against the taking away of his security pass (which means that he cannot do his job), the court case about the supposed assault of a policeman, and the hearing about the mayor’s decision to prohibit the peaceful protest. Court cases cost money. A good lawyer costs even more. Show solidarity and DONATE whatever you can give. If Jerry Afriyie loses this battle, we all lose!

Donating is possible via:

Nederland Wordt Beter
NL09 TRIO 0197 966 691
Make mention of: Afriyie

BACKGROUND

On November 15, 2014 the national arrival of Sinterklaas took place in Gouda. Before the arrival, several organizations and action groups against Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) had organized themselves under the name “Kick Out Zwarte Piet” (KOZP). The intention of KOZP was to hold a peaceful protest during the arrival. At the invitation of Mayor Milo Schoenmaker of Gouda and the police, the representatives of KOZP, Jerry Afriyie and Kunta Rincho, held conversations with the mayor and the police. During the interview the mayor commended the peaceful actions of the movement against Black Pete. The representatives left the meeting with a positive feeling.

However, two days before arrival, the peaceful demonstration of ‘Kick Out Zwarte Piet’ was prohibited by the mayor of Gouda. In response, Afriyie and many others decided to cancel the demonstration and solely make use of their freedom of expression. The group felt strengthened by the report of the National Ombudsman which was published on October 15, 2014. This report stated that the police is not allowed to arrest you for wearing a T-shirt against Black Pete during the arrival of Sinterklaas. According to the National Ombudsman, shirts with the text ‘Black Pete is Racism’ and ‘No Black Pete’ are allowed as freedom of expression.

Despite the clear report of the Ombudsman and the fact that Afriyie as a Dutch citizen was making use of his freedom of expression, Afriyie was arrested with excessive violence while he was present at the Sinterklaas arrival. Afriyie was standing with a group of people when they were enclosed by the police. Afriyie was pulled out of the group and the videos of his shocking arrest were shared worldwide. Afterwards, the question was when the involved policemen would be punished. However, the opposite happened. Afriyie was reported for assaulting a policeman! And it doesn’t stop there. Shortly after this report was made, the police took away his job. And as if that is not enough, Afriyie has to appear in court on Wednesday, August 26. The police and mayor want to see him convicted and on top of that demand €1200.-in compensation.

SETTING AN EXAMPLE

Kno’Ledge, the name by which Jerry Afriyie is known, is one of the faces in the struggle against racism in the Netherlands. In 2011 he accelerated the discussion on Black Pete, together with Quinsy Gario and others. In the morning of the Sinterklaas arrival in 2014, Afriyie received a text message from the police with the text: ‘It is a children’s festivity’. The policemen knew who he was. Before he was pulled out of the group and got arrested with brute force, one of the policemen called out: “He must be kept apart!”, while Afriyie did nothing differently from the other group members.

Jerry Afriyie was arrested in a harsh way and taken away like a terrorist, with his shirt over his head. After his arrest, he was placed in isolation wearing nothing but a boxershort. Other arrested activists were allowed to stay in one room, awaiting their release. By order of the Public Prosecutor, Jerry received his clothes back and was released. After experiencing all this, he is nevertheless being sued by the police and has lost his job. It needs no further explanation that the Public Prosecution Service, the police, the mayor and the Sinterklaas committees want to set an example with Afriyie. “Don’t come after our festivity, otherwise we’ll come after you”.

The arrest of and the court case against Jerry Afriyie are direct attacks on the freedom of expression. This is also an attack on the movement against racism, white privilege and institutional racism in the Netherlands. Freedom of expression must apply to all citizens of the Netherlands. Article 1 of the Constitution must protect all Dutch citizens and not just the majority of the people. The arrest and all consequences are meant to break Jerry Afriyie and to discourage the movement.

We cannot and will not allow this to happen!

NB: This post has been edited to reflect that it was written by Kno’ledge Cesare and Nederland Wordt Beter, rather than Gloria Holwerda-Williams as previously indicated.

 

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