Germany reveals number of ‘Citizens of the Reich’
The number of far-right extremists who deny the legitimacy of modern-day Germany has reached 23,000, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday. She called for a comprehensive crackdown on the Reichsbuerger ‘Citizens of the Reich’ movement.
According to Faeser, the Reichsbuerger community, which rejects the country’s current political system and borders, has grown by 2,000 members over the past year. She said that 10% of those in the group are considered to be ready for violence.
On Wednesday, police arrested 25 Reichsbuergers, or self-styled ‘citizens of the Reich’, who are suspected of plotting a coup. The 71-year-old Heinrich XIII, Prince of Reuss and a member of a minor German aristocratic family, was named as the group’s leader.
“We are not dealing with harmless nutcases, but with terrorism suspects, all of whom are now in custody and awaiting trial,” Faeser said, adding that 239 violent acts by Reichsbuergers were recorded last year, and at least 1,050 people had their firearm permits revoked. The minister called for “maximum pressure” on the community and said that the government would “further tighten gun laws.”
In April, German police arrested four people with ties to the Reichsbuerger movement on suspicions of plotting to kidnap Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.