Supporters of the Citizens of the Reich were allegedly preparing “to break into the German parliament violently”.
In raids across the country, German police arrested 25 suspected members and supporters of a far right group that allegedly sought to overthrow the state by force, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
About 3,000 officers carried out the raids on Wednesday at 130 sites in 11 German federal states against adherents of the so-called Reich Citizens’ Movement (Reichsbuerger).
Prosecutors said members of the movement were suspected of having “made concrete preparations to violently enter the German parliament with a small armed group”.
They added that 22 of those arrested were German citizens and were being held on suspicion of “belonging to a terrorist organization”, while three others allegedly supported the organization, including a Russian citizen.
Some of the group’s members reject the post-war constitution and call for replacing the elected government with their own. They do not rule out violence against the state as a means of achieving their goal.
The weekly Der Spiegel reported that one of the locations raided included the barracks of German special forces unit KSK in the southwestern town of Calw.
In the past, the KSK has been investigated over the alleged far-right involvement of some of its soldiers. But federal prosecutors have refused to confirm or deny that the barracks were searched.
Other suspects were arrested in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia, as well as in neighboring Austria and Italy, according to the prosecution.
Prosecutors said the suspects had been preparing to achieve their goal since late November 2021, as they knew it could only be achieved by force.
They also identified the alleged ringleaders as Heinrich XIII PR and Rüdiger v. P. who are accused of having created a “terrorist organization with the aim of overthrowing the existing state order in Germany and replacing it with their own form of state, which was already in place”. course of its foundation.
There has been a disturbing rise in far-right ideology in Germany in recent years.
In May, the Federal Interior Ministry reported that 327 employees of Germany’s federal and state security services had been convicted of links to hard right ideology over a period of three years.
At least nine people were shot and killed in February 2020 by an attacker with alleged links to the far right in Hanau.