Arrested four right-wing extremists and anti-vaccination activists who had planned attacks and kidnappings

Crackdown on the far-right Antivax movement in Germany. Authorities targeted 5 suspects, all Germans, aged between 41 and 55. Four were arrested while these individuals were planning “violent attacks” in the country and kidnappings of “public figures”, including popular health minister and social democrat Karl Lauterbach . AFP learned from a ministry source.

He said he was “upset” after learning of the possibility of his kidnapping. This “not only shows that the protests against the anti-Covid rules have become more radical, […] but that in the meantime these are attempts to destabilize the state,” he reacted during a press conference.

This news network called “United Patriots” aims to destroy “the German democratic order,” the Koblenz public prosecutor and the Rhineland-Palatinate police stated in a joint press release.

Gold bars and firearms confiscated

The suspects, who were arrested during extensive searches the previous day, had specifically planned to attack power grids in a bid to cause “a long-term blackout across the area,” which they said would have set the stage for a “civil war.” . Since October 2021, authorities in several parts of the country have been investigating the group, its founders and supporters.

In Wednesday’s raid, they notably seized firearms and ammunition, gold bars and silver coins, more than 10,000 euros worth of currency, as well as mobile phones, fake Covid-19 vaccination cards or even several documents written about their plans to overthrow the state.

This far-right movement, especially mobilized since the pandemic

Police operations against the radical fringe of the anti-health lockdown movement have multiplied in the country that has put far-right violence at the forefront of threats to public order, ahead of the risk of jihad. This movement has been particularly mobilized in Germany since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and is active in Telegram groups when threats are made against elected officials or at demonstrations. The country was also shocked by the assassination in June 2019 of Walter Lübcke, elected by the conservative party, by a neo-Nazi activist who was defending former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of accepting migrants.

In early April, German authorities carried out a major raid on far-right terrorist circles as part of a wide-ranging investigation involving the police and military intelligence services since 2019. Four suspects from “Knockout Group 51” were arrested. The ongoing investigations are also directed against the right-wing extremist group “Atomwaffe Division Germany”, the German offshoot of the American neo-Nazi movement.

On Wednesday, the federal prosecutor’s office announced the indictment against a young German sympathizer of this movement, who is suspected of wanting to trigger “a race war” in Germany through attacks with explosives and firearms.

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