BERLIN (AA) – German police conducted raids across the country on Wednesday to arrest right-wing extremists involved in plots to overthrow the democratic system by force.
Raids in seven federal states targeted five members of the far-right Reichsburger (Reich Citizens) movement and more than a dozen of other right-wing extremists, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s office.
In the southwestern city of Reutlingen, a police officer was slightly injured after a suspect fired shots at officers, public broadcaster ARD reported. The suspect was later arrested.
Several active soldiers and police officers were among the suspects, and their names were recently uncovered by authorities during investigations on the far-right “Reuss group,” according to the report.
Members of the “Reuss group” were arrested in December over plans to storm the German parliament, cause civil war-like conditions in the country, and overthrow the government.
Heinrich Reuss – a descendant of a noble family who is also known as Prince Heinrich XIII – was the leading figure in the group.
The 72-year-old was known for his sympathy towards the Reichsburger movement and promoted far-right and conspiratorial ideas.
A former lawmaker of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), several ex-military officers, and an active soldier from the Special Forces Command, were among the 23 suspects detained last year.
Followers of the Reichsburger movement reject the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany and believe that the country is governed by members of a so-called “deep state.”
Many refuse to pay taxes and they are often in conflict with authorities.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV estimates that the scene has around 23,000 followers.