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Plenarsitzung im Bayerischen Landtag - Reichsbürger
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Seeger
Crime

German police raid 'Reichsbürger' movement

March 30, 2017

German police have carried out multiple raids on suspected "Reichsbürger" members. The movement believes the German Reich continues to exist in its 1937 borders and doesn't recognize the modern German state.

https://p.dw.com/p/2aHhZ

German police across five states on Wednesday raided multiple locations and arrested three suspected members of the so-called "Reichsbürger" movement.

Fourteen premises were searched in the operation, which authorities said yielded evidence, weapons and ammunition. The raids were carried out in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, as well as in Romania.

The "Reichsbürger" movement, which translates as "Reich citizens," is a loosely organized collective of individuals who refuse to recognize the Federal Republic of Germany as the successor state of the Third Reich.

Members are mainly united by their belief that the German Reich continues to exist in its 1937 borders. This often manifests in a refusal to pay taxes, the issuance of their own, unrecognized government documents and an overall rejection of authority. Many of the followers have been tied to right-wing extremism and scams. 

In all, authorities said five people on Wednesday were accused of organized criminal fraud and forgery. The accused allegedly made and distributed "Reichs IDs," "Reich driver's licenses" and diplomatic passports from the "German Reich."

Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV) only recently started to investigate the "Reichsbürger" movement.

The movement became the center of attention in October 2016, when a member of the group wounded three police officers and shot dead another in a shootout near Nuremberg.

Police discovered a stockpile of weapons believed to belong to the same extremist group in an ensuing investigation.

Since then, multiple raids targeting the group's members, including some in the police, have been carried out and several arrests made.

cw/bw (AFP, dpa)

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