The 4th Reich
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German police arrested at least 25 people Wednesday who planned to overthrow the country’s government by force in one of the country’s largest raids against right-wing extremists, CBS News reported.
More than 3,000 officers were involved in 130 raids across 11 of Germany’s 16 federal states.
Officials said the detained individuals were part of an unnamed terrorist group that was made up of a German nobleman and a number of armed forces veterans. The alleged plotters were planning to attack the country’s parliament as part of a violent coup to overthrow the government.
While the group did not have a name, some of its key members, including the nobleman, Heinrich Reuss, were part of the “Reichsbürger” (Reich Citizen) – movement. Members of the movement believe that the modern German state is illegitimate and have been calling for the re-establishment of Germany’s pre-World War II borders.
The group is also known for its members’ refusal to pay taxes, printing their own passports and stockpiling of weapons. Some of its members are known to ascribe to right-wing populist, anti-Semitic and Nazi ideologies, according to Deutsche Welle.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency estimates there are around 21,000 so-called Reichsbürger in Germany, with one in 20 classified as far-right extremists.
Reuss, who is known as Prince Heinrich XIII, was earmarked by the alleged plotters to become the new state regent following the coup. The nobleman – also a scion of a minor German royal household – has been critical of the German government.
He is also accused of contacting Russian Federation representatives in both Russia and Germany in the hope of gaining support for the overthrow of the government, NBC News noted.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that the German investigation was “an internal matter for Germany, and they themselves state there is no question of Russian interference.”