'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 21 Oct, 2016 Updated Fri 21 Oct 2016 10:11 CEST
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A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

The married couple had gone into a town hall office in Salzwedel, Saxony-Anhalt and refused to leave when civil servants there asked them to do so. The town hall workers then called police.

The husband was described by police as a Reichsbürger - people who do not recognize the Federal Republic of Germany as a legitimate state, and who tend to believe the true borders of Germany are those that existed prior to the Second World War.

When the 43-year-old husband saw the police, he insulted them as “Nazis” and suddenly started throwing punches. His 34-year-old wife also started striking the officers.

Police fought back and finally were able to force the pair out of the office, issuing them an expulsion order to leave the location.

One of the officers as well as the Reichsbürger was taken to hospital due to his injuries.

On Wednesday, a self-declared Reichsbürger in Georgensgmünd, Bavaria opened fire on police when they came to seize his weapons, after authorities had declared that he was no longer “safe” to possess them. One of the officers he shot ultimately died due to his injuries.

Since Wednesday’s violent encounter, the Reichsbürger movement has become a subject of national debate.

Reichsbürger assert that the German Reich, or even Prussia, still exists, with some groups establishing their own "government". German intelligence considers a number of Reichsbürger to be part of the right-wing extremist scene as well and has been monitoring them.

Because Reichsbürger do not recognize the laws of the German state, they often come into conflict with authorities for refusing to pay taxes or forging their own forms of identification.

Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann called for a “thorough review” of such groups in the state, and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told the Rheinische Post that there would be a re-evaluation of the movement in the eyes of the government.

"Wednesday's incident alone is reason to look more closely at this," de Maizière said.

The movement has long been considered a fragmented one, not centrally organized and German domestic intelligence does not have an official count of the number of Reichsbürger in Germany.

Green party spokeswoman Irene Mihalic thrust blame on German intelligence for underestimating the danger of the movement. It has long been known that the Reichsbürger movement is “highly aggressive and some of them are armed,” she told broadcaster ARD.

But sources within Berlin intelligence circles told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger on Friday that there are reservations about extensively monitoring the movement through federal agencies: Reichsbürger have no national network and therefore it’s important for individual states to keep track of them.

Even some police officers identify with the movement: Herrmann confirmed that there have been members of the group in the ranks of Bavarian police. One officer was suspended in the spring because of his clear Reichsbürger affiliation, the Bavarian interior minister told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. Three others are currently being investigated for whether they are part of the movement.



DPA/The Local 2016/10/21 10:11

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