Thousands of police carried out a series of raids across much of Germany on Wednesday against suspected far-right extremists who allegedly sought to overthrow the state by force.
Federal prosecutors said 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states against adherents of the so-called Reich Citizens movement. Some members of the grouping reject Germany’s postwar constitution and have called for the overthrow of the government.
Prosecutors said 22 German citizens were detained on suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organisation”. Three other people, including a Russian citizen, are suspected of supporting the organisation, they said.
Der Spiegel reported that locations searched included the barracks of Germany’s special forces unit KSK, in the south-western town of Calw. The unit has in the past been scrutinised over alleged far-right involvement by some soldiers. Federal prosecutors declined to confirm or deny that the barracks was searched.
Along with detentions in Germany, prosecutors said one person was detained in the Austrian town of Kitzbühel and another in the Italian city of Perugia.
Prosecutors said the suspected ringleaders, identified only as Heinrich XIII PR and Rüdiger v P, were accused of founding last year a “terrorist organisation with the goal of overturning the existing state order in Germany and replacing it with their own form of state, which was already in the course of being founded.”
The suspects were aware that their aim could only be achieved by military means and with force, prosecutors said.
They are alleged to have believed in a “conglomerate of conspiracy theories consisting of narratives from the so-called Reich Citizens as well as QAnon ideology,” according to a statement by prosecutors.