Germany arrests 25 people over alleged far-right coup plot (2024)

Published On 7 Dec 20227 Dec 2022

In raids across the country, German police have arrested 25 suspected members and supporters of a far-right group who were allegedly seeking to overthrow the state by force to install as national leader a prince who had sought support from Russia, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.

About 3,000 officers conducted the raids on Wednesday at 130 sites across 11 German federal states againstadherents of the so-called Reich Citizens (Reichsbuerger) movement.

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Prosecutors said members of the movement were suspected of “having made concrete preparations to violently force their way into the German parliament with a small armed group”.

They added that 22 arrested individuals were German citizens and were detained onsuspicion of “membership in a terrorist organisation” while three others allegedly supported the organisation, including a Russian citizen.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane, reporting from Berlin, said that those involved in the plot were “heavily armed”.

“It is suggested that these people have believed that there is a deep state operating in Germany, which is antithetical to Germany’s interests and that this Russian national with others may have tried to approach the Russian Federation for some assistance,” he said.

“It is not known what sort of contact they had and what happened from those contacts if indeed they happened.”

The Kremlin said later on Wednesday there could be no question of any Russian involvement in the coup plot.

“This appears to be a German internal problem,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “There can be no question of any Russian interference.”

The raids

Some of the group members reject the post-war constitution and call for replacing the elected government with their own. They do not exclude violence against the state as a means of achieving their goal.

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported that one of the raided locations included the barracks of Germany’s special forces unit KSK in the southwestern town of Calw.

In the past, the KSK has been investigated over alleged far-right involvement by some of its soldiers. But federal prosecutors declined to confirm or deny that the barracks were searched.

Other suspects were arrested in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony, and Thuringia, as well as in neighbouring Austria and Italy, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Germany arrests 25 people over alleged far-right coup plot (1)

Prosecutors said the suspects have been preparing to carry out their plan since the end of November 2021 as they were aware that it could only be achieved with force.

The plot envisaged a former member of a German royal family, identified as Heinrich XIII P R under Germany’s privacy law, as leader in a future state while another suspect, Rüdiger v P, was the head of the military arm, the prosecutors’ office said.

They are accused of establishing a “terrorist organisationwith the goal of overturning the existing state order in Germany and replace it with their own form of state, which was already in the course of being founded”.

The prosecutor’s office said Heinrich, who uses the title prince and comes from the royal House of Reuss, which had ruled over parts of eastern Germany, had reached out to representatives of Russia, whom the group saw as its central contact for establishing its new order.

It said there was no evidence the representatives had reacted positively to the request.

‘Enemies of democracy’

The German government will respond with the full force of the law, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

“The investigations provide a glimpse into the abyss of a terrorist threat from the Reichsbuerger milieu,” said Faeser in a statement, adding that the constitutional state knew how to defend itself against “the enemies of democracy”.

The House of Reuss had previously distanced itself from Heinrich, calling him a confused man who pursued conspiracy theories, according to local media. Neither the House of Reuss nor Prince Reuss’ Office responded to requests for comment.

Germany’s monarchy was abolished a century ago. When the Weimar Constitution entered into force on August 14, 1919, the legal privileges and titles of German nobility were abolished. Officially, there are no princes and princesses in Germany.

There has been a worrying rise in far-right ideology in Germany during the last few years.

In May, the Federal Ministry of the Interior reported that327 employees of Germany’sfederal and state security authorities have been found to have links to hardline right-wing ideology over a three-year period.

At least nine people were shot and killedin February 2020 by an attackerwith suspected far-right linksin Hanau.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

Germany arrests 25 people over alleged far-right coup plot (2024)


Germany arrests 25 people over alleged far-right coup plot? ›

Twenty-five people have been arrested in raids across Germany on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. The group of far-right and ex-military figures are said to have prepared for a "Day X" to storm the Reichstag parliament building and seize power.

What is the German plot coup? ›

Ideology and aims

The alleged aim of the group was to reestablish the German Empire. The network is alleged to have been planning an armed attack on the Bundestag since at least November 2021, as well as public arrests of politicians to cause public unrest.

What is the overthrow of the government coup? ›

A coup d'état (/ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː/; French: [ku deta]; lit. 'stroke of state'), or simply a coup, is typically an illegal and overt attempt by a military organization or other government elites to unseat an incumbent leadership.

What is the German word for violent overthrow of a government? ›

In its native Swiss German, putsch originally meant "knock" or "thrust," but these days both German and English speakers use it to refer to the kind of government overthrow also known as a coup d'état or coup.

Why was the blame put on Germany? ›

Many historians agree that German aggression and militaristic policies were responsible for some of the conditions that led to war, that Germany saw itself as likely to benefit from a war, and that as the strongest military power in Europe she could have taken actions to prevent a the war.

What is the right to overthrow the US government? ›

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Is it illegal to overthrow the government? ›

Advocating overthrow of Government. Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

What is it called when the people overthrow the government? ›

June 2022) A coup d'état, often abbreviated to coup, is the overthrow of a lawful government through illegal means. If force or violence are not involved, such an event is sometimes called a soft or bloodless coup.

What was Germany's plan to knock out France? ›

It would become known as the Schlieffen plan. Believing that Russia would take longer to mobilise than France, von Schlieffen decided that Germany should focus almost all of its resources on a decisive battle in the west. Once the French had been crushed, Germany could turn all of its forces against the Russian army.

Why were the Germans fighting the French? ›

On 3 September 1939, France declared war on Germany following the German invasion of Poland. In early September 1939, France began the limited Saar Offensive but by mid-October had withdrawn to their start lines. German armies invaded Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France on 10 May 1940.

What was the Prussian coup? ›

The 1932 Prussian coup d'état or Preußenschlag (German pronunciation: [ˈpʁɔʏsənˌʃlaːk]) took place on 20 July 1932, when Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, at the request of Franz von Papen, then Reich Chancellor of Germany, replaced the legal government of the Free State of Prussia with von Papen as Reich ...

What was the coup in the Weimar Republic? ›

Kapp Putsch, (1920) in Germany, a coup d'état that attempted to overthrow the fledgling Weimar Republic. Its immediate cause was the government's attempt to demobilize two Freikorps brigades. One of the brigades took Berlin, with the cooperation of the Berlin army district commander.


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