Germany arrests dozens suspected of planning to overthrow government
By Melissa Eddy and Erika Solomon
Special Forces in Germany have arrested 25 people suspected of supporting a domestic terrorist organization that planned to overthrow the government and form its own state, the federal prosecutor in Berlin said Wednesday.
In early morning raids carried out across the country, some 3,000 police and Special Forces officers detained people believed to be members and supporters of the group, which prosecutors said had been formed in the past year and was operating on the conviction that “Germany is currently ruled by members of a so-called deep state” that needed to be overthrown. Prosecutors said two other people had been arrested outside Germany, one in Austria and another in Italy.
Among those detained were a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party who had served in the German parliament, a member of the German nobility and a Russian citizen accused of supporting the group’s plans. Federal prosecutors said that they were investigating a total of 52 suspects.
The group’s plans included an armed attack on the German parliament building, known as the Reichstag, prosecutors said, and members had organized arms training and attempted to recruit personnel from the German security services. Prosecutors added that the group’s members had also formed a sort of shadow government that they intended to install if their plans were successful. It remains unclear, however, how close they were to acting on those ambitions.
Prosecutors described the group, which they did not identify, as being influenced by the ideologies of the conspiracy group QAnon and a right-wing German conspiracy group called the Reichsbürger, or Citizens of the Reich, which believes that Germany’s post-World War II republic is not a sovereign country but a corporation set up by the victorious Allies.