German authorities have arrested dozens of persons who were allegedly plotting to overthrow the country’s government. Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a former representative of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the Bundestag, is reportedly among those taken into custody.
The Federal Public prosecutor’s Office charged some 50 individuals with a range of crimes related to the suspected plot, local media reported on Wednesday. The group was described as part of the “Reich Citizens” movement, which rejects the legitimacy of the modern German state in favor of the government that existed between 1871 to 1918.
The plotters reportedly wanted to storm the parliament building and wage a campaign of sabotage, with the ultimate goal of seizing power. German prosecutors described the scale of the operation to apprehend them, which involved simultaneous execution of some 25 arrest warrants, as unprecedented in the country’s modern history.
They have identified the head of the would-be ruling council as “Heinrich XIII.” German media is reporting that the man is Heinrich Reuss, a scion of a noble family from Frankfurt am Main, who has a real estate business. Another suspected ringleader, named “Rudiger v. P.” by the German authorities, was described as a former paratroop commander.