BERLIN – German authorities on Wednesday arrested 25 members and supporters of a far-right group plotting a violent coup, some of whom are suspected of planning an armed attack on parliament, prosecutors said.
One active-duty soldier and several reservists are among those being investigated, a military intelligence official told Reuters. The active-duty soldier is a member of the Special Forces Command, he said.
A former member of the German royal family and a former member of parliament from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who worked as a judge in Berlin, were among those arrested.
Prosecutors believe that some members of the group had specific plans to storm the lower house of the Bundestag in Berlin with a small armed group.
One of the suspects, known under German privacy law as Heinrich XIII PR, had reached out to Russian officials, whom the group saw as its central link in establishing the new order, the office said. It said there was no evidence that representatives responded positively to the request.
Heinrich, from the royal House of Reuss, which ruled the eastern parts of Germany, was seen as the group’s designated leader in the future state, while another suspect, Ruediger VP, was the head of the military unit. – said the office.
According to local media, the House of Reuss had previously distanced itself from Heinrich, calling him a deranged man who pursued conspiracy theories. The home did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said the raids were carried out by more than 3,000 police officers and security forces across Germany’s 11 federal states. The suspects were arrested in the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Thuringia, as well as in Austria and Italy.
The suspects are accused of preparing to carry out actions based on their ideology no later than the end of November 2021, the agency said. Those efforts include buying equipment, recruiting new members and holding shooting lessons, he added.
The recruitment drive will focus on military and police personnel, the office said.