Hundreds of German police raid properties in probe into 'Reichsbuerger' coup plot

Suspected German 'Reichsbuerger' coup plotters go on trial, in Frankfurt

BERLIN (Reuters) -Over 700 police searched properties in three German states on Tuesday associated with two suspects in the far-right "Reichsbuerger" group that plotted to overthrow the government, the federal prosecutor's office said.

The search warrants were carried out against a 73-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman residing in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Prosecutors said they are suspected of providing the group surrounding German aristocrat and property investor Heinrich XIII Prinz Reuss with facilities to recruit new members.

According to Spiegel newsmagazine, which was the first to report the news on Tuesday, investigators were also looking for possible weapons depots as the 73-year-old suspect possessed a considerable number of firearms.

No arrests were made during the searches, Spiegel added.

Reuss went on trial last month, and he and eight other defendants in custody have denied charges of terrorism and high treason.

They are among a total of 27 people facing trial this year on accusations that they conspired in a plot foiled by authorities at the end of 2022. Together they amount to one of the largest legal proceedings in German history.

The "Reichsbuerger" (Citizens of the Reich) believe that today's German democracy is an illegitimate facade and that they are citizens of a monarchy which, they maintain, endured after Germany's defeat in World War One, despite its formal abolition.

The group planned to install Reuss, who is a scion of a now-throneless dynasty, as caretaker head of state, prosecutors say.

The large-scale police operation began on Tuesday morning and involved more than 700 officers including special forces from several states and the explosive ordnance disposal service.

Police were combing through seven properties and three plots of land across the states of Saxony, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Schleswig-Holstein, prosecutors said.

The targeted properties include bunkers and a former military training site, Spiegel reported.

(Reporting by Andrey Sychev and Madeline Chambers; editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Heinrich)