By GEIR MOULSON Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Four people have been arrested in Germany and weapons seized in an investigation into suspected anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a lengthy blackout across the country and kidnap well-known personalities, including the country’s health minister, authorities said. Thursday.
Prosecutors from the Koblenz and Rhineland-Palatinate state criminal police office said raids were carried out on 20 properties across Germany on Wednesday following an investigation launched in October. The suspects were members of a chat group called “United Patriots” on the Telegram messaging service.
Investigators said the suspects were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Citizens of the Reich movement, which questions the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution and, by extension, the current government. In total, 12 people are under investigation.
Authorities said the group’s stated goal was to destroy electricity supply facilities and cause a prolonged blackout across the country, with the aim of producing “civil war-like conditions” and ultimately overthrowing the democratic system. from the country.
Police seized 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash, and numerous gold bars and silver coins. They also found fake vaccination certificates and COVID-19 tests.