German police raid homes of 20 alleged supporters of far-right Reich Citizens scene

About 280 officers raided the suspects' properties in eight German states.

November 24, 2023 03:10 am | Updated 03:10 am IST - BERLIN

Police officers take a suspect back to a house during a raid in Garbsen, Germany, on Nov. 23, 2023.

Police officers take a suspect back to a house during a raid in Garbsen, Germany, on Nov. 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Police officers in Germany searched the homes of about 20 people on Thursday in connection with investigations into the far-right Reich Citizens scene, whose adherents reject the legitimacy of Germany’s postwar constitution and have similarities to followers of the QAnon movement in the United States.

The suspects, aged between 25 and 74, are accused of forming a criminal organization, officials said.

They "insulted and in some cases massively threatened state institutions across Germany on a large scale, mainly via social media,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said, according to German news agency dpa.

About 280 officers raided the suspects' properties in eight German states: Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Hamburg and Lower Saxony.

Authorities seized a blank-firing weapon, irritant devices and smartphones.

Prosecutors in Munich, who were in charge of the raids, said the suspects' aim was to destabilize Germany and its institutions.

Last month, police also searched homes of other Reich Citizens, or Reichsbuerger members who were allegedly connected to United Patriots, which Germany considers to be a terrorist group. Five suspects were arrested at the time.

In December, more than two dozen people were arrested in connection with plans to topple the government. Among the accused plotters was a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Germany's domestic intelligence estimates that around 23,000 people across Germany belong to the Reich Citizens scene.

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