German far-right deputies expelled over clothing

Police ask lawmakers of the right-wing NPD party to leave the federal parliament of Saxony state in Dresden The deputies refused to remove the clothing made by the Thor Steinar brand

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Eight deputies from a far-right party have been expelled from the parliament chamber of the German state of Saxony.

The National Democratic Party (NPD) MPs were asked to remove shirts they were wearing of the Thor Steinar brand, which is popular among neo-Nazis.

After the MPs refused to take off the shirts, the session was halted and they were escorted from the chamber by police.

The deputies denied that they wore the shirts as a deliberate provocation.

Clothes by brands associated with neo-Nazis have been banned in Saxony's parliament since 2007.

"Dignity and order must be preserved in the building and in the plenary session," parliament spokesman Ivo Klatte said, adding that wearing such clothes was "clearly not allowed".

Seven of the deputies will be banned from the next three parliament sittings, assembly president Matthias Roessler said.

Breivik controversy

The state of Saxony lies in ex-communist eastern Germany, an area which has seen an increase in far-right activity in recent years.

The NPD entered Saxony's parliament in 2004, the first time it had won seats in any state assembly for almost 40 years.

The Thor Steinar label's stores have attracted protests from anti-Nazi activists.

In March, the label caused controversy by opening a shop called "Brevik" in town of Chemnitz in Saxony - similar to the name of the Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.

The label reportedly defended the name, pointing out that its clothing has a Nordic theme and that its stores are named after places in Norway - in this case the town of Brevik, south of Oslo.

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