′Reichsbürger′ raided in three German states | News | DW | 07.02.2017
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Far-right groups

'Reichsbürger' raided in three German states

Police have raided fifteen homes and offices belonging to "Reichsbürger" in three German states. The far-right suspects are accused of using forged documents to deny the existence of the modern federal republic.

Prosecutors based in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, said the raids were aimed at 16 suspects - two of them women and aged between 40 and 62 - involved in the spread of counterfeit documents and impersonation of officialdom.

The raids involving 250 police and prosecutors, including special squads, were focused on Bavaria but also two locations in the neighboring federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

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Reichsbürger movement on the rise in Germany

Ingolstadt police spokesman Hans-Peter Kammerer said seven of the 16 persons targeted Tuesday were suspected of acting as self-appointed officials of a fictional "State of Bavaria" based in Pliening, east of Munich.

Deutschland Polizeipressesprecher Hans-Peter Kammerer in Geltendorf (picture-alliance/dpa/L. Barth)

Charges pending, says police spokesman Kammerer

The others were suspected sympathizers who had obtained and used fake documents.

The accused had deluged authorities with written objections to fines and confiscation orders "in which they expressed their crude legal views and lodged counterclaims," according to the Ingolstadt police bureau.

The contents amounted to attempted extortion, attempted coercion and impersonation of officialdom, investigators said, who said the probe had begun last week into the issuing of falsified identity documents and drivers' licenses.

Reichsbürger Reisepass (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Seeger)

This 'passport' seized last June asserts the existence of the 'German Reich'

Grouping numbers 10,000

Last month, the federal head of Germany's VfS domestic intelligence service Hans-Georg Maassen said the "Reichsbürger scene" of activists and sympathizers - mostly middle-age white males - was thought to number about 10,000.

Of these, 500 to 600 were known right-wing extremists, Maassen said, adding that his Cologne-based agency was worried about the movement's "considerable propensity for violence and increased aggressiveness."

Most high-profile incidents have emerged in Germany's formerly communist east and in the southern state of Bavaria.

Denial of modern Germany's existence

'Reichsbürger' refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the post-war Federal Republic of Germany and its constitution, and believe in the continued existence of the pre-war German Reich.

Last October, a suspected far-right member opened fire in northern Bavarian town of Georgensgmünd, near Nuremburg, wounding four policemen, including a 32-year-old special forces officer who later died. The accused faces a murder charge.

Reichsbürger

Reichsbürger do not recognise the Federal Republic of Germany as a legitimate state

After that killing, some German regional police forces checked their own ranks in search of possible 'Reichsbürger" in uniform.

'Mister Germany'

Last August, a one-time "Mister Germany" pageant winner opened fire at his home in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, slightly injuring three police officers.

Two weeks ago, police raided 12 locations nationwide and detained two suspected members of a terror cell. And on Tuesday, federal prosecutors said one of those accusedarrested in Brandenburg, a so-called "Druid," was also facing charges of illegal weapons possession.

"If they have access to weapons, they pose an extreme threat," said Heiko Homburg, an intelligence official of another eastern state, Brandenburg.

ipj/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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