German prosecutors have charged a total of 27 people with supporting a terrorist organisation and preparing an act of high treason just over a year after members of a far-right group were arrested on suspicion of plotting a violent coup.
The group of Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich), who do not recognise the legitimacy of modern Germany, had wanted to create a new state led by aristocrat Heinrich XIII Prinz Reuss, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The association planned to send an armed group to force their way into parliament in Berlin, arrest lawmakers and overthrow the system, said prosecutors. To this end, the group had recruited military personnel, acquired equipment and even undertaken shooting training, they added.
“The members were aware that the planned takeover of power would involve the killing of people,” said the prosecutors in a statement outlining the charges which were filed on Monday.
The group aimed to build armed forces across the country and to have a signal for “Day X” when the group would take action. It had also drawn up lists of enemies.
With financial resources of about half a million euros, they also had a “massive arsenal of weapons”, said prosecutors. This included 380 firearms, almost 350 weapons which could have been used to stab people and almost 500 other weapons plus at least 148,000 pieces of ammunition.
Members also acquired equipment such as ballistic helmets, bullet proof vests, night vision goggles and handcuffs, said prosecutors.
“Members of the organisation were united by a deep rejection of state institutions and the free democratic order,” said federal prosecutors in the statement.
They said the members followed a mix of conspiracy myths, including narratives from QAnon ideology.
They were firmly convinced that Germany was currently being ruled by members of a so-called “deep state”.