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German right-wing populist group under surveillance

Kate BradyAugust 12, 2016

The "Identity Movement for Germany" (IBD) is being watched by Germany's intelligence services. The group regards Europe's increased immigration as a conspiracy of the global economy, politics and the media.

'Identity Movement' in Austria
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A.Halada

Germany's intelligence services confirmed on Friday that the right-wing grou IBD is being monitored in nine of Germany's 16 states, including Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony.

"We see evidence in the "Identity Movement" of unconstitutional efforts," German Intelligence Services Chief Hans-Georg Maassen said.

The group, which has its roots in France, first arrived in Germany in 2012 and has developed offshoots across Europe. Known for its anti-immigration stance - particularly against Muslims - the German offshoot of the movement first made its presence known online via Facebook and YouTube.

Maassen warned on Friday that it was Germany's youth that was particularly susceptible to these "methods of propaganda."

In recent months, however, demonstrations and leafleting have also become more common.

Hans-Georg Maaßen
German Intelligence Services Chief Hans-Georg MaassenImage: picture-alliance/dpa/K.Nietfeld

Immigration conspiracy

According to German authorities, the IBD believes the current increase in immigration is a conspiracy of the global economy, politics and the media - the objective of which is allegedly to replace "Europeans" with "non-European immigrants" and thus destroy traditional culture.

The IBD isn't the first right-wing movement to garner support in Germany in recent months. Anti-Islamization group PEGIDA has been holding almost weekly demonstrations against Islam, refugees and politicians in various German citites since October 2014.

At the height of their popularity in January 2015, the group saw a turnout of some 25,000 protesters. Numbers have declined in recent months, however, to around 2,000.

Right-wing connections

Links between the IBD and PEGIDA have already been reported in Germany, with local German paper "Leipziger Volkszeitung" reporting in July that IBD flags were seen among the crowds of PEGIDA demonstrators in Leipzig. Days later, snippets of paper promoting right-wing internet content were also distributed at the city's Höfe am Brühl shopping mall.

Several German states have also reported contact between the IBD and politicians belonging to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in recent months. German intelligence services were unable to confirm the reports.