Admin l Sunday, December 11, 2022
LAGOS, Nigeria – There has been a sharp rise in the numbers joining the extremist “Reichsbürger” movement, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has said in remarks to the Sunday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.
German domestic intelligence agencies now estimate the number of adherents to the movement, a disparate collection of groups which do not acknowledge the authority of the German state, at around 23,000. Faeser said this represented an increase of 9.5% compared with last year.
The agencies previously estimated the numbers at around 19,000 in both 2018 and 2019. While Reichsbürger adherents have been seen at political rallies in recent months, participating in particular in protests against measures to control the pandemic, arrests this week of a group alleged to be plotting the overthrow of the German state have brought the movement to the fore.
In their annual report on extremist movements, the domestic intelligence agencies ascribed right-wing extremist motivation to more than 5% of a group they termed “Reichsbürger and self-rulers.”
Some 10% of the Reichsbürger are regarded as potentially violent, with German police attributing 239 violent crimes to the Reichsbürger milieu over the course of last year, a substantial rise on 2020.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors ordered the arrest of 25 people, including a former member of parliament for the far-right Alternative for Germany, a minor aristocrat and serving and retired officers in the military.
The 23 arrested in Germany remain in custody, and federal prosecutors have initiated proceedings seeking the extradition from Austria and Italy of two men arrested there. A further 27 people are linked to the case.
Twenty-two of those arrested are accused of membership of a terrorist organization aiming to overthrow the state.