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German officials arrested 22 suspected members and three suspected supporters of a far-right terrorist group across the country on Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.
In a statement, the German federal prosecutor’s office said an estimated 50 individuals were suspected to have been part of the group called Reich Citizens movement, founded no later than November 2021, who were plotting a government coup in order to install their own rule of law.
“The accused are united by a deep rejection of state institutions and the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany, which over time has led to their decision to participate in their violent elimination and to engage in concrete preparatory actions for this purpose,” the statement said.
AP News reports thousands of police officers carried out raids across Germany on Wednesday to arrest those suspected of the potential insurrection.
Federal prosecutors said some 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states. Some movement members reject Germany’s postwar constitution and have called for bringing down the government.
According to CNN, the statement said the suspected members of the organization were German nationals. Two of the suspected supporters were German and one was Russian, it added.
German Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann stated on Wednesday that “democracy is defensible,” adding a “major anti-terror operation” has been underway since this morning.
“The Federal Public Prosecutor is investigating a suspected terrorist network from the Reich citizen milieu,” Buschmann said on Twitter.
The federal prosecutor’s office also said the raids will continue against 27 other suspects potentially involved in the traitorous effort.
AP News reports the group is alleged to have believed in a “conglomerate of conspiracy theories consisting of narratives from the so-called Reich Citizens as well as QAnon ideology,” according to the statement.
Trumpy’s in Germany. https://t.co/eVjwoqKE2p
— Randy S (@R_H_S) December 7, 2022
Prosecutors added that members of the group also believe Germany is ruled by a so-called “deep state;” similar to the baseless claims made by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
This story is developing.