Bavaria, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Switzerland. Police investigations, raids and arrests of members of the organization “Citizens of the Reich”, which has already been classified as terrorist by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, continue throughout Germany. Five new arrests yesterday, Wednesday, in a new expanded police operation. In fact, there is already talk in the German media about active police officers and a military officer among those arrested.

At least a dozen homes were raided, weapons recovered, as in the first round of mass raids and arrests last December. In Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, an armed man was waiting for the police with a large-caliber weapon in his living room. He opened fire and slightly wounded a police officer of the special action unit.

“This incident shows how dangerous they are they are ‘Citizens of the Reich,’” according to German Attorney General Marco Bussmann. “They must be disarmed,” he said characteristically.

So far, since last December and the unprecedented scale of the police operation inside and outside the German border, a total of 25 people have been arrested and detained. Among them is the “brain” of the organization, the self-proclaimed “Crown to the Throne” of the Reich, Prince Henry XIII. The list of those arrested also includes retirees, conspiracy theorists, pandemic deniers, far-right activists and a former judge and member of the Alternative for Germany.

Thousands of members all over Germany

According to official figures at this time the members of the “Citizens of the Reich” estimated at 23,000 throughout Germany -some live in Austria, Switzerland or Italy. They do not recognize the Federal Republic of Germany, nor its constitutional institutions, and seek to overthrow the German parliamentary system even with the use of force, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

In fact, Attorney General Peter Frank recently warned for increasing threat of use of force by members of the “Citizens of the Reich.” The fact that many members of the organization are already facing sentences from the German justice system, accused of attempted murder, also causes serious problems. The increase in crimes committed by “Reich Citizens” in the years 2020 and 2021 was also significant.

Ideology that legitimizes the use of violence

However, the militancy and increasing aggression displayed by members of the “Citizens of the Reich” is directly related to their ideological background, as Timo Reinfrank, managing director of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which aims to strengthen the civil society against right-wing extremism.

According to the German expert, “their ideology is the one that legitimizes the use of violence” and indeed in a very targeted way that attacks the state order as well as politicians.

However, the data of the Constitution Protection Service regarding the possession of weapons are also revealing. Since the start of police investigations and surveillance of “Reich Citizens” in 2016, gun licenses have been revoked to at least 1,050 members of the organization. At the end of 2021, approximately 500 alleged members were still in possession of weapons.