Warsaw (AFP) - More than 700,000 people had by Thursday signed a petition demanding the European Parliament suspend a Polish far-right MEP who said women should be paid less because they are weaker and less intelligent than men.
Global civic movement Avaaz launched the online petition against MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke on Wednesday, International Women's Day.
"We ask the European Parliament to suspend the Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke following his hateful remarks about women and migrants, and after making a Nazi salute in the chamber," the petition says.
"These acts are in violation of the Parliament's rules and betray the values of the entire EU which our Parliament is elected to defend."
The European Parliament on Friday launched a probe against Korwin-Mikke, 74, for "sexist remarks" that could result in a fine or suspension.
He has previously been sanctioned by the EU assembly for making racist comments and remarks about the Holocaust.
"Of course women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent, they must earn less, that's all," Korwin-Mikke told parliament on March 1.
The bowtie-wearing, moustachioed Korwin-Mikke made the comments after interrupting a speech by a female Spanish MEP, Iratxe Garcia-Perez.
He first made remarks about women in sport and added: "Do you know how many women are in the first 100 of chess players. I tell you: no one."
Garcia Perez then shot back: "According to what you are saying... I would not have the right to be here.
"I think I have to defend European women to men like you."
Korwin-Mikke has previously courted controversy by claiming Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was "not aware of the extermination of the Jews", calling refugees "human garbage" and using a racist term to refer to black Americans.