Germany Uncovers Alleged Coup Plot Involving Aristocrat

3K officers make 25 arrests across the country
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2022 7:46 AM CST
Germany Uncovers Alleged Coup Plot Involving Aristocrat
The German parliament Bundestag building, the Reichstag Building photographed through a slit in a blind at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Three thousand officers carried out 130 raids across Germany on Wednesday, arresting 25 people who were allegedly plotting to storm the Reichstag and overthrow the government. The BBC reports those arrested are far-right figures from the Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) movement who reject Germany’s postwar constitution, QAnon believers, and ex-military members, and it flags one name among them: Prince Heinrich XIII, a 71-year-old "minor aristocrat" who was to be installed as leader. "We don't yet have a name for this group," said a rep for the federal prosecutor's office, which alleges the group had been planning since November 2021 to carry out an armed attack on parliament in order to usher in a new state that was akin to Germany's Second Reich, which was founded in 1871.

The BBC reports the planning had allegedly included discussions around establishing health, justice, and foreign affairs departments and even the nomination of ministers. A military arm under the command of 69-year-old former paratrooper named only as Rüdiger von P. would allegedly take out democratic bodies at a local level. Rüdiger von P. and Heinrich XIII are accused of being the ringleaders. The latter hails from the House of Reuss, a noble family who the Guardian reports ruled over parts of eastern Germany in the 12th century. They have reportedly described Heinrich as an "at times confused" man caught up by "misconceptions fueled by conspiracy theories."

CNN has this statement from the federal prosecutor's office: "The accused are united by a deep rejection of state institutions and the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany, which over time has led to their decision to participate in their violent elimination and to engage in concrete preparatory actions for this purpose." The AP observes that while "police raids against the far right are not uncommon in the country—still sensitive to its grim Nazi past—the scale of the operation was unusual." (Editor's note: An earlier version of the article incorrectly indicated the group allegedly intended to call their new government the Second Reich, after the Second Reich that was formed in 1871.)

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