The manager of a shop accused of attempting to make “fascism fashionable” has defended his store, saying they are simply good quality outdoor clothes and he is doing nothing illegal.
Anti-fascist campaigners have staged two protests outside Zsolt Mogyorodi’s Viking Thor Shop since it opened in Ballards Lane, North Finchley, in March.
The shop is an outlet for Thor Steinar, a clothing brand that has caused controversy in Germany for using symbols similar to those worn by the Nazi SS.
The company has since changed its branding, but campaigners have continued to lobby the firm, claiming it could encourage racism.
Mr Mogyorodi, who manages the north Finchley outlet, said: “People are not looking at what’s happening now – these things happened years ago. There’s nothing wrong with the clothes – they are good quality outdoor clothes.
“In European countries there are so many people wearing these clothes. People have complained asking why I’ve opened a shop like this in North London but I know that in North London there are so many European people from places like Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary who know these clothes and wear these clothes – that’s why I opened the shop here.”
He said Thor Steinar’s logos are taken from Viking runes and have “nothing to do” with neo-Nazism or fascism.
The brand has been banned at several football stadiums across Germany and in 2012, National Democratic Party MPs were expelled from parliament in Saxony, Germany, after refusing to remove Thor Steinar shirts.
North London Unite Against Fascism has staged two protests outside the North Finchley store, and has launched a petition calling for the shop to be closed down.
Gary McFarlane, who organised the protests, said: “People in Germany, where the brand is based, clearly think there’s something wrong with it.
“Viking runes are associated with people from Nordic countries, but the problem is they’ve been taken on by the far-right and used for their propaganda. They are using that imagery to speak to people associated with fascism.
“The shop owner in North Finchley has failed to distance himself from this, therefore it’s disingenuous for him to say he’s doing nothing wrong.”
But Mr Mogyorodi said: “I’m not going to shut down my shop. I’m not doing anything wrong by selling outdoor clothing.
“I’ve spent a lot of money setting up the shop and I have all sorts of customers coming in.
“I’m not going to listen to anyone saying it’s a Nazi shop – it’s just stupid words. I’m not doing anything illegal and I have no reason to shut down.”