Anti-fascist campaigners to stage protest outside store associated with neo-Nazis (From Times Series)
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Anti-fascist campaigners to stage protest outside Thor Steinar Viking Thor Shop in North Finchley
Anti-fascist campaigners plan to stage a protest outside a North Finchley store selling a controversial clothing brand associated with the far right in Europe.
The Viking Thor Shop opened in Ballards Lane last month as an outlet for Thor Steinar, a popular label among German neo-Nazis.
The brand uses Nordic themes, but was banned in Germany in 2004 for using symbols similar to those worn by the Nazi SS.
The company has since rebranded, but its links to the far right have not waned, sparking fears the new store in North Finchley could encourage “race hatred” in the area.
Although the store’s owner has denied any links to the far right, North London Unite Against Fascism plans to take action by staging a protest outside the shop this Friday.
Speaking to the Times Series, Gary McFarlane who is organising the protest, said: “It’s very disturbing this store has opened and we hope to get it shut down.
“The brand is undoubtedly linked to the far right in Germany, and the violence of the right. We don’t want that sort of thing in North London or anywhere else for that matter.
“There’s a danger this brand could become fashionable and become part of a scene. We need to bring people’s attention to this and expose what they’re really about.”
But the store’s owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said he “doesn’t understand” the controversy around the brand and is “really upset” about the reaction the store has had in North Finchley.
He said: “The symbols are taken from Viking runes, it’s nothing else. I don’t see anything wrong with these kinds of clothes.
“I come from Eastern Europe – lots of people from Eastern Europe know about the brand. I’ve been wearing these clothes since 2005 and I really like the clothes because they’re high quality.”
But in recent years the brand has caused upset, sparking protests outside several of its stores.
In 2012, National Democratic Party MPs were expelled from parliament in Saxony, Germany, after refusing to remove their Thor Steinar shirts.
And in March of the same year, Thor Steinar, also came under attack for naming a new store “Brevik”, which activists said was too similar to the name of Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik. The label had defended the name stating its stores are named after places in Norway, and in this case it was after the town of Brevik, south of Oslo.
Mike Freer, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said he will keep an eye on the store after speaking to Jewish Rabbis in the area.
He said: “The shop appears to be trading entirely legally and not engaged in any untoward activities. I have discussed the issue with the Community Security Trust and local Rabbis and we agree that an overt campaign against the shop would only give the shop publicity.
“We agreed that keeping a 'watching brief' is the best course of action.”
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