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Reich Citizens: Authorities expect further arrests

The security authorities are convinced that a "real danger" emanated from the coup plans of a group of so-called Reich citizens.

After the major raid on Wednesday, further arrests and searches are possible.

After a major raid against a “Reichsbürger” group because of alleged coup plans, German security authorities expect further searches to be carried out against the scene and suspects.

On Wednesday, a total of 25 people were arrested in eleven federal states as well as in Italy and Austria. Around 3,000 officers were involved in the raids. The federal prosecutor’s office accuses 22 suspects of being members of a terrorist organization that wanted to overthrow the political system in Germany. 19 of the accused are already in custody.

“Real danger” from “Reichsbürger” group

The President of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch, assumes that further suspects will be taken into custody in the course of the day. In the ZDF “heute journal” he stated that in the course of the investigation 150 searches of apartments and other objects had already taken place. Some weapons were also seized. In the meantime, 54 suspects have become the focus of the investigation.

Neither Münch nor the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, doubts the seriousness of the alleged coup plans of the “Reich citizens”. Haldenwang spoke of a “quite real danger” emanating from the group. In the meantime, the security authorities have had a very clear overview of the content and development of these apparently forged plans for a coup thanks to the investigations that have been ongoing since the spring. However, it is unclear when these should possibly be implemented.

Federal Public Prosecutor Peter Frank also emphasized in the ARD focus: “We assume that the people in the association were determined and were sure to do something.” It was therefore right to act now and put an end to the group’s efforts.

Authorities defend time of access

BKA boss Münch justified the fact that it still took months before the large-scale raid by saying that sufficient evidence had to be collected that it was a terrorist organization. There was a “council” in the group that made decisions and a military arm that is said to have also procured weapons. “They don’t wait until the last moment. But when that’s clear, then it’s time to strike,” stressed Münch.

“Anything but harmless weirdos”

Terrorism expert Peter Neumann has no doubts about the group’s danger. The greatest danger of terrorist violence emanates from so-called Reich citizens, Neumann told the editorial network Germany:

“They are capable and willing to carry out serious terrorist attacks against the state.”

The CSU interior expert Andrea Lindholz sees a “new quality” in the willingness to use violence in the scene. “Reich citizens” and so-called self-government are “anything but harmless cranks and conspiracy theorists,” said the deputy head of the Union faction of the “Rheinische Post”.

Stricter controls at the Bundeswehr and federal police?

What also makes the “Reichsbürger” network so dangerous is the group’s military arm, emphasized Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. This also included former members of the Bundeswehr, who “can also handle weapons,” said the SPD politician on the ARD program Maischberger. She spoke out in favor of checking authorities such as the German Armed Forces or the Federal Police more closely for possibly extremist views and “taking a closer look” there.

President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Haldenwang, also spoke out in the daily topics for a security check that all persons who are admitted to the federal and state security agencies should go through.

“‘Reichsbürger’ scene underestimated for too long”

From the point of view of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which works against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism, the “Reichsbürger” scene has been underestimated for too long.

In the past few years, there have always been clear signs that the supporters are prepared to use violence and are apparently also organized, said the extremism researcher Lorenz Blumenthaler, who works for the foundation, of the German Press Agency. “But especially in security circles, the groups were often laughed at and their enormous potential for danger was taken lightly, despite intensive warnings from civil society.”

Operation Against Coup Planners in Germany: 25 Arrests

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