Germany bans neo-Nazi 'White Wolves Terror Crew' after conducting raids
"This is a group of neo-Nazis who spew hate openly against our country, against our society, against people with different political opinions, against migrants and also against police," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, as quoted by AFP.
"This group openly subscribes to the values of national socialism and wants a dictatorship based on that model."
Members of the group have been seen holding banners that read: “Achieve national socialism with all means.”
De Maiziere went on to say that banning the White Wolves Terror Crew (WWT) is a “clear and strong sign against right-wing extremism and a further step against incitement of hate in Germany.”
"With today's ban I am sending this message: the security authorities are taking strong action against extremism – regardless of which (political) direction it is leaning and whether the group is big or small," De Maiziere said.
German police conducted dawn raids across 10 states on Wednesday, confiscating weapons, propaganda leaflets and data carriers.
Founded in 2008 as a fan club of the extreme right skinhead band Weisse Wolfe, WWT later developed into a group that carries out far-right violence. It has been active across the country since 2014, according to Germany's domestic intelligence agency.
The Wednesday raids were not the first conducted by police against the group; previous raids against its members took place in 2009. Federal prosecutors launched proceedings against WWT in 2012, over charges that it was a terrorist organization.
The defendants in the that case were accused of forming a so-called 'Werewolf Commando' squad aimed at bringing down Germany's political system. However, the case was dropped in October 2014 due to a lack of evidence.
Neo-Nazi groups in Germany have become more vocal since the refugee crisis began last year. In January, four members of the group 'Oldschool Society' were charged with planning to bomb refugee shelters and assassinate Salafi clerics.
A neo-Nazi march in the German city of Leipzig in December led to clashes with protesters who staged a counter rally, prompting police to deploy tear gas and water cannons.
Meanwhile, proceedings to ban the German far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called "an anti-democratic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-constitutional party,” began earlier this month.