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25 people have been arrested over a suspected plot to overthrow the German government

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Some of those arrested are believed to be connected to the extremist Reichsbürger movement, as well as QAnon and COVID-related conspiracies.
25 people have been arrested over a suspected plot to overthrow the German government

German authorities have arrested 25 people they suspect were planning to overthrow the German Government.

Some of those arrested are believed to be connected to the extremist Reichsbürger movement, as well as QAnon and COVID-related conspiracies.

Germany’s Federal Prosecutor says the group planned to storm the German Parliament and were willing to murder Government officials.

Background

Members of the Reichsbürger movement do not believe the German Government has been legitimate since World War II.

The group has thousands of members and was initially seen as “harmless”. However, some members are associated with alt-right and neo-Nazi movements. In recent years the group has been increasingly linked to QAnon “deep state” and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

In April, a group connected to the Reichsbürger movement planned to kidnap the German Health Minister.

The plot

The German Federal Prosecutor said those arrested were planning to replace the German Government with its own.

The group had chosen a leader, Heinrich XIII, who identifies as a “prince” and is descended from a minor royal family.

It had also chosen Ministers, including a former far-right politician and judge, Birgit Malsack-Winkemann. The authorities believe the group also included ex-military officials.

Heinrich XIII and Malsack-Winkemann were among those arrested.

The Federal Prosecutor says the group was aware their plan could only be achieved through violence.

The group is said to have acquired equipment, provided shooting training to its members, and planned to send a “small armed group” to enter Germany’s Bundestag (Parliament).

German government response

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the Government would defend itself strongly against “enemies of democracy”.

She described the suspected terrorist group as “driven by fantasies of violent overthrow and conspiracy ideologies”.

“[They show] hatred of democracy, our state and people who stand up for our community,” she said.

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