German police have arrested 25 suspected members and supporters of far-right groups allegedly seeking to overthrow the state by force in nationwide raids to name a prince who had sought Russia’s support, according to federal prosecutors. national leaders. office.
Around 3,000 officials carried out raids on Wednesday against followers of the so-called Reichsbuerger movement at 130 sites in Germany’s 11 federal states.
Prosecutors said members of the movement were suspected of “concretely preparing to violently force their way into the German parliament with a small armed group”.
They added that 22 of those arrested were German citizens and were detained on suspicion of “joining a terrorist organization,” while three others, including a Russian citizen, allegedly supported the group.
Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane reported from Berlin that those involved in the plot were “totally armed”.
“It suggests that these individuals believe that there is a deep state operating in Germany that is contrary to German interests, and that this Russian national and others may have tried to seek help from the Russian Federation,” he said.
“It’s unclear what kind of exposure they had and, if exposure did occur, what happened to those exposures.”
The Kremlin said late on Wednesday that Russia was unlikely to be involved in the coup plot.
“It seems to be an internal issue in Germany,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “There can’t be any question of Russian interference.”
Some group members rejected the postwar constitution and called for their own government to replace the democratically elected government. They do not rule out violence against the state as a means to achieve their goals.
Der Spiegel weekly reported that one of the sites of the attack included a barracks of the German special forces KSK in the southwestern town of Calw.
In the past, KSK has come under investigation for the alleged far-right involvement of some of its soldiers. But federal prosecutors declined to confirm or deny that a search of the barracks took place.
Other suspects were arrested in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hessen, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia, as well as neighboring Austria and Italy, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Prosecutors said the suspects had been preparing to achieve their goal since late November 2021, knowing they could only achieve it by using force.
The plot envisions a former German royal, identified under German privacy law as Heinrich XIII PR, as the future leader of the state, while another suspect, Rüdiger v. P., is the head of the military department, That is, the prosecutor’s office said.
They are accused of creating a “terrorist organization whose aim is to overthrow the existing state order in Germany and replace it with their own state form, which is already in the process of being established”.
The prosecutor’s office said Heinrich, using the princely title from the Reussian royal family that rules parts of eastern Germany, had been in touch with representatives of Russia, which the group considers a central contact in building the new alliance. Order.
It said there was no evidence that delegates responded positively to the request.
“Enemy of Democracy”
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the German government would respond with the full force of the law.
“The investigation allows us to peer into the abyss of the terrorist threat emanating from the Reichsbuerger environment,” Faeser said in a statement, adding that constitutional states know how to fend off “the enemy of democracy.”
According to local media reports, the Reuss family had previously distanced themselves from Heinrich, calling him a muddleheaded man pursuing conspiracy theories. Neither Royce House nor Prince Royce’s office responded to requests for comment.
The German monarchy was abolished a century ago. When the Weimar Constitution came into force on August 14, 1919, the statutory privileges and titles of the German nobility were abolished. Officially, there are no princes and princesses in Germany.
The past few years have seen a worrying rise in far-right ideology in Germany.
In May, the Federal Ministry of the Interior reported that 327 employees of Germany’s federal and state security authorities had been found to have links to hard-right ideologies over a three-year period.
In February 2020, at least nine people were shot dead in Hanau by attackers suspected of having links to the far right.