BERLIN: German Police All of it dozens of People including a self-proclaimed prince, a retired paratrooper, and a former judge on Wednesday accused the suspects of Discussing the violent overthrow of The government, but it was not clear how concrete they were.
A German Official and lawmaker both said that investigators could have found evidence of real plotting, drunken fantasizing or both.
Regardless, Germany Takes any right-wing threat seriously, and thousands of Pre-dawn raids were conducted by police officers across the country. of The country.
“We’re talking about a group that, according to what we know so far, planned to violently abolish our democratic state of Law and an armed attack” on the German parliament building, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.
Sara Nanni, a lawmaker with the Green party, part of the German government, suggested the group may not have been capable.
“More details keep coming to light that raise doubts about whether these people were even clever enough to plan and carry out such a coup,” Nanni said in a post on the social network Mastodon. “The fact is: no matter how crude their ideas are and how hopeless their plans, even the attempt is dangerous!”
Federal prosecutors said the group is alleged to have believed in a “conglomerate of conspiracy theories consisting of narratives from the so-called Reich Citizens as well as QAnon ideology.
”Adherents of the Reich Citizens movement reject Germany’s postwar constitution and have called for bringing down the government, while QAnon is a global conspiracy theory with roots in the United States.
The Reich Citizens scene has been under observation by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency since 2016. Authorities estimate that the loose-knit movement has about 21,000 adherents.
Prosecutors said the suspects also believe Germany is ruled by a so-called “deep state.”
One of the alleged ringleaders arrested on Wednesday is Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, a 71-year-old member of the House of Reuss who continues to use the title despite Germany abolishing any formal role for royalty more than a century ago.
Federal prosecutors said Reuss, whom the group planned to install as Germany’s new leader, had contacted Russian officials with the aim of imposing a new order in the country once the German government was overthrown. There is no indication that the Russians responded positively.
Police also detained Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a judge and former lawmaker with the far-right Alternative for Germany party.
Alternative for Germany, which is known by its acronym AfD, has increasingly come under scrutiny by security services due to its ties with extremists.
AfD’s co-leaders, Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel said they had only learned of the alleged coup plans through the media, and condemned them.
“We have full confidence in the authorities involved and demand a swift and comprehensive investigation,” they said in a statement.
Chief federal prosecutor Peter Frank said some 3,000 officers were involved in the raids conducted at 150 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states.
Officers detained 22 German citizens on suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organisation,” prosecutors said. Three other people, including a Russian citizen, were held on suspicion of supporting the organisation, they said. An additional 27 people were under investigation.
One of those arrested was a soldier serving on the support staff for Germany’s special forces unit KSK in the southwestern town of Calw. The unit has received scrutiny over what officials called some soldiers’ far-right beliefs.
Along with detentions in Germany, prosecutors said one person was detained in the Austrian town of Kitzbuehel and another in Italy.
The latter suspect, a 64-year-old German citizen who is a former officer in the German army special forces, is accused of being part of a criminal organisation that aimed to “subvert the German democratic order by any means – including criminal – and replace it with another unidentified form of state,” police said in a statement, adding that extradition proceedings were underway.
“Of course, there are many people who grandstand and tell confused tales after drinking alcohol,” German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said.
“In this case, however, there were such strong suspicions that the group wanted to take violet action that the investigating judge at the Federal Supreme Court ordered the investigative measures to be taken.”
Some of the group’s members had made “concrete preparations” to storm Germany’s federal parliament with a small armed group, according to prosecutors.
Wednesday’s raids showed that “we know how to defend ourselves with full force against the enemies of democracy,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.
“The investigation offers an insight into the depths of the terrorist threat within the Reich Citizens milieu,” Faeser said. “Only the further investigation will provide a clear picture of How far is it coup plans had come.”
Officials have warned repeatedly that extremists of the far right pose the biggest threat for Germany’s internal security. The killings highlighted this threat. of A local politician and the 2019 attack on a Synagogue. A year later, far right extremists participating in a protest against country’s pandemic restrictions tried but failed to storm Berlin’s Bundestag Building in Berlin.
Faeser declared this year that the government intended to disarm around 1,500 suspected extremists as well as tighten background checks to ensure those who want to acquire guns are subject to more stringent background checks of A greater crackdown on the far right.