Germany's domestic intelligence agency has identified an "intensified escalation potential" within Querdenker movement that includes coronavirus skeptics.
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, said large turnouts of the "Querdenker" (lateral thinker) movement — seen at recent anti-Corona-lockdown protests — harbored "intensified escalation potential."
Small rallies had also taken place and were largely peaceful, the BfV said, albeit adding that there had been "attacks" on police units and media representatives at large gatherings.
Querdenker adherents, including coronavirus-skeptics and anti-lockdown protesters, claim the COVID-19 pandemic and long-established federal and regional laws aimed at halting the pathogen's spread infringe on citizens' liberties.
The state agency's chief, Beate Bube, said observation status allowed her staff to use the full array of measures in surveilling the group — typically informants and eavesdropping.
"Querdenker are opposed to the peaceful democratic order," asserted Bube.
Boris Pistorius, interior minister of Germany's northern state of Lower Saxony, welcomed Baden-Württemberg's move, saying, "From within the movement, legitimate protest against coronavirus measures has developed into an attack on the state and democracy."
Herbert Reul, interior minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the RND news network, "One problem is that individuals in the movement are becoming increasingly violent."
That left police squads required to uphold the right to demonstrate at large events having to decide between "the good and the bad," said Reul.
German media outlet t-online reported that messages among Querdenker circles on the social media channel Telegram discussed a day of action using large vehicles to block sensitive transport interchanges.
Germany federal criminal police agency said it and cooperating security authorities had an eye on the risks posed by that scenario