Four people were arrested in connection to a plot by anti-government extremists, to kidnap Germany’s health minister and cause an all-out blackout.
Prosecutors said that officers raided 20 German properties on Wednesday and confiscated weapons.
Investigators revealed that the suspects were part of a chat group called “United Patriots” via Telegram.
They were believed to have been associated with the protest movement against coronavirus curbs, and the Reich Citizens movement which challenges the legitimacy of post-Second World War German constitution. Twelve individuals are currently being investigated.
Authorities claimed that the group was attempting to shut down electricity supply lines and cause blackouts across the country. They also hoped to produce “conditions similar in civil war” to overthrow the democratic system.
22 firearms were seized by police, including a Kalashnikov gun, as well as hundreds of rounds ammunition, thousands in euros of cash, numerous gold bars, and silver coins.
They also discovered fake vaccination certificates and COVID-19 test results.
They also planned to kidnap prominent public figures such as Karl Lauterbach, the health minister.
Lauterbach stated that he was shocked by the news and added that the whole thing showed that corona protests had become more radical. It is also about more than corona, that is, that there is an attempt to destabilise state.
“This is a very small minority of our society, but it’s extremely dangerous.”
All five suspects are German and have been charged with preparing violence and violating weapons laws. Unidentified fifth suspect remains at large.
Johannes Kunz, head of Rhineland-Palatinate’s criminal police, stated that “we are dealing with a mix consisting of conspiracy Theorists and opponents of vaccination, as well as Reich Citizens that we haven’t seen so far.”
According to news agency dpa, he said that members of the group had repeatedly expressed disdain for Germany’s state and stated they wished Russian President Vladimir Putin would not only have attacked Ukraine but also invaded Germany.
Prosecutor Juergen Brauer stated that the group’s purchase of weapons and money proved to investigators that they were dealing with “not just cranks, but dangerous criminals who want their plans to be implemented”.
Nancy Faeser (interior minister) stated that the investigation revealed a “serious terrorist threat” and that Mr Lauterbach’s plan to kidnap him and his fantasies of overthrowing democracy are “a new type of threat.”