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Germany: Authorities Arrest Self-Proclaimed ‘Citizens of the Reich’

On Wednesday, police officers raided the homes of 52 individuals and other objects in several of Germany’s federal states. They include members of the right-wing extremist ‘citizens of the Reich’ and their supporters. According to the Federal Prosecutor General, 25 persons were arrested.

Berlin, December 7th, 2022. Update: 10:38 p.m. CET (The Berlin Spectator) — Germany’s Federal Prosecutor General says, police officers had arrested 25 individuals most of whom were suspected of being members of “a terrorist organization”. Raids were performed in 130 objects. Until the early afternoon, thirteen persons were put into investigative custody. Judges will soon decide about the remaining suspects.

Military Means

Heinrich XIII. Prinz Reuss (German spelling: Reuß) is one of the individuals who are in custody. He is supposed to be one of the leaders of the group. Another arrested person is Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a judge from Berlin who used to be an MP for the radical far-right party AfD. There are more than 20,000 self-proclaimed ‘citizens of the Reich’. They neither recognize the Federal Republic of Germany, nor its laws or institutions. The group that was targeted today is being accused of having planned “to remove the state order with the aid of weapons and military means”.

This means they were planning to stage a coup. One of the scary parts of the story is the fact that one of the accused is a former military commander at the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces.

Acts of Homicide

The arrests were made simultaneously this morning. Twenty-two of the persons are members of the group, three are supporters. On the list provided by the Prosecutor General, there are four women and 21 men. One of the supporters is a Russian citizen. All others are Germans. Three thousand officers were part of today’s big operation in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia. One suspect was arrested in Austria, another one in Italy.

According to the Prosecution, the arrested suspects belong to a terrorist group that was founded in November of 2021. Their goal was to remove Germany’s state order and replace it by another one they had partially defined before they were arrested today. All members had been aware of the fact that an implementation of their plans would have included an operation “with military means and violence against representatives of the state”, including “the committal of acts of homicide”.

Conspiracy Theories

The Prosecutor General said the members of the terrorist group followed “a conglomerate of conspiracy theories that consist of narratives of the so-called ‘citizens of the Reich’ and QAnon ideologies”. They were convinced Germany was ruled by members of a “Deep State”. According to those beliefs, an “Alliance” is about to liberate the country. The suspects had intended to form an “interim military government” and hold talks with the Russian Federation. Preparations had been ongoing, a statement read. The terror group had had a “military branch”, it said.

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