The arrest of Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss during the raid against the »Reich Citizens«
Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa
Just over a week ago, German authorities arrested several "Reich citizens" in a nationwide raid.
They are said to have hoarded weapons and planned a crash.
Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil is now calling for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to take a closer look at the rest of the scene.
»Those who are alleged to have conspired to stage a coup are only part of the 'Reichsbürger' scene.
That's the tip of the iceberg.
Unfortunately, the soundboard is much larger.
You have to take that very seriously," said the SPD politician to the dpa news agency in Hanover.
»I assume that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution will pay much more attention to this area of right-wing extremism in the future.
We will have to show everywhere that we are a well-fortified democracy.«
The head of government also sees the protection of the constitution as responsible for the connections between the AfD and the »Reichsbürger« scene.
»There are personal points of contact.
I can't quantify that.
It will be the task of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to shed light on this dark field," said Weil.
Former AfD member of parliament Birgit Malsack-Winkemann was also arrested during the raid.
“Some still seem to see the AfD as a harmless protest party”
Weil is not alone in his assessment: the Bavarian interior minister and chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Joachim Herrmann (CSU), also urges a closer look at the AfD.
"Some still seem to see the AfD as a harmless protest party," he told the editorial network Germany.
Among other things, AfD voters' eyes must be opened to "what radical, racist and anti-Semitic forces" are at work in the party, said Herrmann.
However, Herrmann considers a ban on the party to be unrealistic and hardly constitutionally enforceable.
"Currently, all parties have to deal with the AfD, above all politically."
Hamburg checks gun permits for "Reich citizens"
With a view to the threat posed by »Reich citizens«, the Hamburg interior authorities have re-examined the scene.
A total of six people associated with the scene have a gun permit.
In addition, the authorities are aware of 14 people who are classified as right-wing extremists and have a weapon license, as well as one person who is assigned to the new area of extremism "delegitimization of the state relevant to the protection of the constitution".
While the number of so-called Reich citizens in Hamburg who are allowed to purchase and own a weapon has fallen by one since the end of February, the number of people classified as right-wing extremists with a weapon license has increased by two.
The aim of the authorities is "to consistently deny or revoke weapons permits to members of extremist scenes," said the spokesman for the interior authority, Daniel Schaefer, of the dpa.
The weapons authority, the state security department of the State Criminal Police Office and the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution are in close contact.
In each case in which there are indications that people are following an extremist orientation, a case-by-case assessment is carried out to refuse or revoke a gun license,” said Schaefer.
According to him, since February 2020, six people from the phenomenon of "right-wing extremism" have had their gun licenses revoked.
There were seven people among the "Reichsbürger and Selbstverwalter" and two people among the "delegitimizers".