German officials target far-right 'Reichsbürger' group in nationwide raids

AFP/The Local
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German officials target far-right 'Reichsbürger' group in nationwide raids
Archive photo from November 18th shows police operation at a Bavarian hotel where so-called Reichsbürger members were gathering for a meeting. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jason Tschepljakow

Germany raided apartments across eight states on Thursday over an alleged plot by a far-right group to spread conspiracy theories and "destabilise" the state through social media networks, prosecutors said.


Computers, smartphones and data sticks were seized in the searches at 20 apartments in eight states, the prosecutor's office in Munich said in a statement.

The investigation is centred on a plot by alleged members of the far-right "Reichsbürger" movement - the same group behind a plan last year to overthrow the state and install a self-styled prince as Germany's new leader.

READ ALSO: Germany busts far-right cell planning attack on parliament

The latest plot centred on several channels on the messaging service Telegram, the prosecutors said.

From early 2021, the channels were used to spread conspiracy theories, and the operator of the channels organised "mass contacting" of authorities by phone and email, they said.

This was "in order to force them to make decisions in favour of the members of the association," the statement said.

"The overriding aim... was to destabilise Germany and its institutions and to prevent, or at least hinder, lawful state action,"

Those contacted were confronted with far-right conspiracy theories, and faced insults and death threats, the prosecutors said.

Thursday's raids were launched over suspicions over the formation of a criminal organisation, and the aim of authorities was to secure evidence.


Ten properties in southwestern Baden-Württemberg state were searched, while raids also took place in Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Hamburg and Lower Saxony.

They followed the arrest in late 2021 of a 58-year-old man identified as the operator of the Telegram accounts. He was charged the following year, and further investigations identified further alleged members of a criminal organisation.

The Reichsbürger movement encompasses far-right extremists, conspiracy theorists and gun enthusiasts.

Its members generally believe in the continued existence of the pre-World War I German Reich, or empire, under a monarchy, and several groups have declared their own states.

READ ALSO: Who was involved in the alleged plot to overthrow German democracy?


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