Germany nabs 4 in probe of anti-government extremist group
German authorities say four people have been arrested and have been weapons seized in an investigation of suspected anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap well-known figures
BERLIN — Four people have been arrested in Germany and weapons seized in an investigation of suspected anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap well-known figures, authorities said Thursday.
Prosecutors in Koblenz and Rhineland-Palatinate’s state criminal police office said that raids were carried out at 20 properties across the country Wednesday following an investigation launched in October. The suspects were members of a chat group called “United Patriots,” they said.
They added in a statement that the group’s declared aim was to destroy Germany’s electricity supply facilities and cause a long blackout, with the goal of producing “conditions similar to civil war” and ultimately overthrowing the democratic system in Germany. The group also allegedly planned to kidnap well-known public figures who weren’t identified.
Investigators said the suspects they identified were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Reich Citizens movement, which disputes the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution and, by extension, the current government.
They seized 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash, and numerous gold bars and silver coins.
The suspects, all German citizens, are accused of preparing a serious act of violence and of violating weapons laws.