Extreme-Right Politicians Expelled for Neo-Nazi T-shirts
There are reports that eight extreme-right politicians on Wednesday were expelled from the Saxony, Germany, state parliament for wearing neo-Nazi T-shirts.
The lawmakers, from the controversial National Democratic Party (NDP), were forcibly removed by police after refusing to leave on their own.
The speaker of the assembly in Saxony, in formerly communist eastern Germany where NDP support is predominantly based, banned the seven men and one woman from the house after being alerted regarding their Thor Steinar brand shirts, which had been outlawed in 2007 for its “Viking” and “Nordic” style slogans which have become closely linked with the neo-Nazi movement in Germany.
Authentic Nazi clothing and memorabilia are illegal in Germany.
Last month, violence broke out at an NDP rally in Hamburg, when 4,000 counter protesters tried to block a 700-strong neo-Nazi contingent from demonstrating. Six neo-Nazis and 20 protestors were arrested, and 38 of the force of 4,000 police officers on hand at the rally were reportedly injured.
Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, appealed to the country’s federal courts to outlaw the BDP, which claims 7,000 members, but is thought to have a far wider unofficial following.
The party, described as “the most significant neo-Nazi party to emerge after 1945” in Germany is currently represented in two of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. The federal government previously tried to have the extremist party banned in 2001, but following the revelation that many high profile members were in fact undercover agents and informants for the German secret services, and the government’s subsequent unwillingness to reveal their identities and activities, the case was dismissed.
British clothing brand Lonsdale has also been widely claimed by neo-Nazi supporters, as the middle four letters of the its branded products spell “NSDA,” part of the German acronym for the Nazi party. The company has strongly disclaimed any links with neo-Nazi movements.