"Zwarte Piet" (Black Pete), who are a Saint Nicholas' assistants are seen during a traditional parade in Zaanstad, Netherlands, November 17, 2018. (REUTERS/Eva Plevier)
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An annual pre-Christmas festival in the Netherlands this weekend was marred by scuffles and arrests as rival groups demonstrated their views on a blackface character who traditionally accompanies the arrival of St. Nicholas.This year's celebrations came days after a court rejected an attempt by anti-racism groups to ban Black Pete from state television.A group of 40 pro-Pete demonstrators were detained in Tilburg Sunday as police said they were out looking for a fight.In Amsterdam, St. Nicholas, "Sinterklaas" in Dutch, arrived Sunday with 350 helper Petes wearing only smudges on their faces, rather than full black face paint: one variant of the story says Pete is black with soot from climbing down chimneys to deliver presents.
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