Experts say that the new allegations are made as Germany is facing the greatest challenge from a extreme right party in Germany since World War II. The hardline Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has risen to the second position in opinion polls.
The AfD is enjoying a greater level of mainstream success, even though the country’s chief intelligence officer warns that it is becoming more extremist.
In a document released by the German Federal Court on Monday, three members of the extreme right Reichsburger party are accused of touring the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany in September 2022, and taking photos and videos of government offices nearby. Authorities say that this was a preparation for an attack.
After three months, 25 members of the Reichsburger Movement were arrested. The police had discovered that a planned coup was in its advanced stages, and included a new government structure which would replace Germany’s Federal Republic.
One of the defendants charged on Dec. 7, served as an AfD lawmaker from 2017 to 2020, giving her the right to enter Reichstag with up to six other people. The document does mention that the suspect was a Berlin judge, but it doesn’t name her.
The document stated that “everyone involved in the operation knew it could only be done by using deadly force against the police and the security forces of German Bundestag”, referring to Germany’s federal parliament.
According to the court documents, the group had planned on forcing 16 people into the building and acquired weapons, hundreds rounds of ammunition, and restraint devices. According to prosecutors, the former lawmaker had a revolver, a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a telescopic scope, and around 7,000 cartridges.
A former parachute battalion commander in the Bundeswehr (German armed forces) is also accused of involvement in the coup.
Some have mocked the Reichsburgers for their eccentric and mostly older members. This includes its alleged leader Heinrich Reuss with his obscure royal title. Reuss descends directly from the House of Reuss which controlled eastern Germany up until 1918 when the modern nation was formed.
He believes the German state to be illegitimate because of the agreements with the Allies after World War II.
In Germany, quite a number of people asked, “Was it really serious?” “Look at them, they’re old.’ They’re basically crazy pensioners,” Peter Neumann told NBC News. Neumann is an expert in extremism and extremism-related issues in Germany.
“We’re seeing hard evidence now that they were trying to plan an actual serious operation. They had guns and scouted the building.”