Reichsbürger Movement Nationwide Police Crackdown on Right-Wing Extremists

German police have conducted nationwide raids against right-wing extremists around a "Reichsbürger" individual who is supposed to have been planning attacks against Jews, police and asylum seekers.
Police carrying out seized material during a raid on an apartment in the Berlin district of Moabit.

On Wednesday morning German police conducted raids on twelve apartments and other objects in several German states.

According to German news agency DPA, a "Reichsbürger" is at the center of the investigations that are also underway against six other individuals. "Reichsbürger," or Citizens of the Reich, are individuals who do not recognize Germany as a legitimate state.

The main person is said to be a right-wing extremist and believed to have formed a terrorist organization which procured weapons and ammunition and planned attacks on Jewish people, asylum seekers and police.

All of the suspects are said to have communicated via social media and are believed to have begun planning armed attacks in the spring of 2016.

On Wednesday, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence service, warned that there is a growing number of "Reichsbürger."

"We believe there are 10,000 people in the Reichsbürger scene right now," said Hans-Georg Maassen who heads the agency. The authorities say 500 to 600 individuals in this group are right-wing extremists.

"The Reichsbürger movement has a strong appeal and continues to attract new supporters," Mr. Maassen explained, adding that the movement is extremely heterogeneous. "Not all of them refer to the German Reich. In many cases, we are dealing with people who want to found their own state or their own community," he said.

The intelligence agency is particularly concerned about violence in the Reichbürger scene.