In several large-scale raids, officials take action against a terrorist organization from the so-called "Reichsbürger" milieu. The right-wing extremist group is said to have planned the overthrow of the state.
The Federal Prosecutor's Office had 25 people from the so-called Reich Citizens' Scene arrested in a raid on Wednesday morning. Around 3,000 officials are deployed in eleven federal states, said a spokeswoman for the Karlsruhe authority. She accuses the accused of having prepared the overthrow of the state.
22 of those arrested are said to be members of a terrorist organization, two of them ringleaders. Three others are considered supporters. There are also 27 other suspects, said the spokeswoman. "We don't have a name for this association yet," she said. They are probably based on conspiracy myths.
The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office accuses around 50 women and men of having formed a terrorist organization in order to eliminate the constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Germany and to establish a state modeled on the German Empire of 1871, reports the Tagesschau. According to this, they are said to have planned, among other things, to storm the Reichstag building, to bring about civil war-like conditions by attacking the power supply, and to depose the federal government in order to then take power.
The investigations by the federal prosecutor's office against suspects from the Reich citizen scene are also directed against a soldier from the Bundeswehr's Special Forces Command (KSK). A spokesman for the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) said it was a man from the staff. According to information from the dpa, his house and office in the Graf Zeppelin barracks in Calw (Baden-Württemberg) were searched. The non-commissioned officer, who is not a commando soldier, had already been noticed in the Bundeswehr as an opponent of vaccination and was later reported from the troops. So far, however, no references to previous extremism incidents in the KSK have been discovered during the investigations.
The citizens of the Reich are said to have founded a terrorist organization by the end of November 2021 at the latest to fight state institutions and representatives. A "military arm" should also "eliminate" the democratic constitutional state at the level of the municipalities, districts and municipalities, the federal prosecutor said on Wednesday in Karlsruhe. The association is aware that there will be deaths. "However, it at least accepts this scenario as a necessary intermediate step to achieve the 'system change at all levels' it is aiming for."
Some suspected members of the military arm would have done active service in the Bundeswehr. The central body of the group is a "council". Similar to the cabinet of a regular government, the body has departments such as justice, foreign affairs and health. "The members of the 'council' have met regularly since November 2021 in order to plan the intended takeover of power in Germany and the establishment of their own state structures," said the federal prosecutor.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann described the nationwide raid as an "anti-terrorist operation". "Democracy is defensive: A major anti-terrorist operation has been taking place since this morning," wrote the FDP politician on Twitter. "There is a suspicion that an armed attack on constitutional bodies was planned."
According to the information, people were arrested in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia and one person each in Austria and Italy. There were also searches in Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The federal prosecutor's office wanted to start questioning the first arrested this Wednesday, as the spokeswoman said.
Reich citizens are people who do not recognize the Federal Republic and its democratic structures. They often refuse to pay taxes. Often they are in conflict with authorities. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution ascribes around 21,000 followers to the scene. During a raid in 2016, a so-called Reich citizen shot four police officers in Georgensgmünd, Bavaria. One of them succumbed to his injuries in hospital. The special task force wanted to confiscate the hunter's weapons.