German police on Wednesday arrested 25 people suspected of being involved in a far-right terror plot to overthrow the country’s government that was influenced by conspiracy movements like QAnon, highlighting the growing threat posed to government officials by right-wing extremist groups across the West.
In an official statement, the German Federal Prosecutor General’s office said the arrests were carried out in raids conducted by police across various parts of the country.
The arrested individuals include 22 German nationals who are alleged members of an unnamed terrorist organization along with two other German nationals and a Russian citizen who are suspected of being supporters.
Two suspects were arrested outside Germany—one in Austria and one in Italy—while a further 27 suspects are still being investigated.
According to Deutsche Welle, one active special forces soldier and several reservists in the German military were among the suspects and the active duty soldier’s home and barracks are now being searched.
The federal prosecutor’s office noted that the members of the terror group were influenced by multiple conspiracy theories like the American right-wing QAnon movement and the so-called Reichsbürger which seek the restoration of the old German Empire or Reich, which collapsed after the First World War.
One of the arrested suspects, Heinrich XIII PR, was allegedly ready to replace Germany’s leader after an overthrow of the government and he had attempted to contact Russian officials—although there is no evidence that this was reciprocated.
In a statement issued on Twitter, German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann wrote: “Democracy is well defended: Since this morning, a major anti-terror operation has been taking place. The Federal Public Prosecutor is investigating a suspected terrorist network from the Reich citizen milieu. There is a suspicion that an armed attack on constitutional bodies was planned.”
Far-right groups have become more prominent and visible across Germany since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and many of them organized and took part in anti-lockdown protests. Earlier this year, German police arrested five people for their alleged involvement in a plot to kidnap German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach due to his backing of various anti-Covid measures. Last year, German police carried out raids at various locations in the state of Saxony after anti-vaccination groups threatened to murder the state’s premier and other government officials for implementing restrictions on unvaccinated people.
German police arrest 25 suspects in plot to overthrow state (Deutsche Welle)
Police in Germany Arrest Dozens Suspected of Planning a Coup (New York Times)