Serving soldiers arrested in raid on ‘Citizens of the Reich’ network planning to topple state
A police officer was shot as Germany rounded up members of a radical network plotting to overthrow the state and reinstate the Kaiser in a violent coup.
Authorities arrested 23 people including serving soldiers and police who are believed to be part of the Reichsbürger movement uncovered late last year.
At one address in the south of Germany, an officer was shot and lightly injured as he entered the property. The suspect was arrested for attempted murder.
Several suspects are serving police officers and soldiers who were detained in the raids, which also reached into Switzerland, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The arrests are the result of one of the largest police investigations in recent German history, with up to 300 detectives working to uncover all the plotters behind an alleged plan to violently topple the government.
In early December, police made the spectacular arrests of two dozen people who they claimed were conspiring to attack the national parliament and set up a new government.
Shadowy web of eccentrics
Police were able to identify further plotters after trawling through the phones and laptops seized during the initial raids.
All of the alleged plotters are said to be from the Reichsbürger movement, or Citizens of the Reich, a shadowy web of eccentrics and conspiracy theorists who long for the return of the era of the Kaiser.
At the head of the alleged conspiracy was Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, the great-grandson of the head of a minor royal princedom that existed in central Germany up until the dissolution of the German empire in 1918.
German prosecutors have claimed that the group had plans to storm the country’s national parliament with weapons and to arrest the members who were inside.
Once they had taken over power, the group intended to set up a “national council” with Mr Reuss as its head.
Detailed military plans
They also had detailed military plans in which some 300 home defence teams would impose order across the country.
During the December raids police seized over 150 firearms, gold and silver coins and over 100,000 euros in cash.
The group are believed to have met to plot their conspiracy at Mr Reuss’ hunting lodge in east Germany, which was owned by a London-based real estate firm.
Other high-profile conspirators were a former member of parliament for the far-right Alternative for Germany party, a celebrity chef, and an opera singer.