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No public at Dutch Saint Nicholas party due to coronavirus

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The annual arrival in the Netherlands of Saint Nicholas will happen without public fanfare this year because of concerns about the coronavirus. Each year, thousands of children and parents pack the streets of the town or city hosting the nationally televised mid-November event to welcome Sinterklaas. Public broadcaster NTR broadcaster said Wednesday it is keeping the location of this year's event secret to avoid it drawing large crowds. The annual holiday event has been a flashpoint in recent years due to an increasingly polarized debate about the appearance of Sinterklaas’ helper, known as Black Pete. He is sometimes portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup, frizzy wigs and red lipstick.

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