Explainer: How Germany police stopped coup attempt involving far-right group

Berlin, GermanyWritten By: Saurav OjhaUpdated: Dec 08, 2022, 06:13 PM IST
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Police secures the area after 25 suspected members and supporters of a far-right group were detained during raids across Germany, in Berlin, Germany December 7, 2022. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Germany Coup Explainer: German police have arrested members and supporters of a far-right group to prevent the attempt of an alleged coup 

Authorities in Germany have arrested more than 20 members and supporters of a far-right group, including a prince, an ex-MP and former soldiers to thwart the attempt of an alleged coup. The prosecutor's office said that the group was preparing a violent overthrow of the state to install as national leader a prince who had sought backing reportedly from Russia. There are reports that the far-right allegedly wanted to execute German chancellor Olaf Scholz. Here's all you need to know about it: 

What happened? 

3000 police officers raided 130 sites from 11 of Germany's 16 states. 

Who was arrested? 

Officers detained 22 German citizens on suspicion of "membership in a terrorist organization", prosecutors said. Three other people, including a Russian citizen, were held on suspicion of supporting the organisation, while another 27 people were under investigation. Who allegedly sought to overthrow the government in an armed coup. 

Who are these extremists? 

Federal prosecutors said the action was targeted at the adherents of the so-called Reich Citizens Movement. Some of whose members rejected Germany's postwar constitution, and have called for bringing down the government. 

Whom do they want to rule? 

Prosecutors identified the suspected ringleaders as Heinrich XIII P. R. and Ruediger v. P., in line with German privacy rules. 

So, what is Reich Citizens Movement? 

Germany's domestic intelligence service Verfassungsschutz put the Reichsbuerger movement under observation in 2016, shortly after one of its members shot dead a policeman during a raid at his home. Members of the Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich) do not recognise modern-day Germany as a legitimate state. 

Some of them are devoted to the German empire under a monarchy, while some are adherents of Nazi ideas and others believe Germany is still under military occupation. They are convinced Germany is ruled by a "Deep State". Today, the Verfassungsschutz attributes some 21,000 people to the Reichsbuerger, with around 5% or 1,150 of them seen as far-right extremists. 

Involvement of any other country? 

Yes, there are connections from neighbouring countries. Along with detentions in Germany, prosecutors said one person was detained in the Austrian town of Kitzbuehel and another in the Italian city of Perugia.  


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