German police have detained six people suspected of forming of a far-right militant organisation which assaulted foreigners and planned terrorist attacks on politicians and civil servants, authorities have said.
The men, aged 28 to 30, are accused of forming “Revolution Chemnitz”, a subversive organisation named after the city where the fatal stabbing of a German man,blamed on migrants, in August prompted the worst far-right violence in decades.
Some 100 policemen, backed by special commando units, were acting on warrants issued by the Federal Court of Justice on 28 September, the federal prosecutor’s office said.
“Based on the information we have so far, the suspects belong to the hooligan, skinhead and neo-Nazi scene in the area of Chemnitz and considered themselves leading figures in the right-wing extremist scene in Saxony,” the public prosecutor general (GBA) said in a statement.
The men were arrested in the state of Saxony, where Chemnitz lies, and the southern region of Bavaria.
“In the course of further investigations we encountered tangible indications that the organisation pursued terrorist goals,” the statement continued, adding that the group had also planned to acquire semi-automatic rifles.
Five of the suspects attacked and injured foreigners in Chemnitz on 14 September using glass bottles, steel knuckle gloves, and Tasers, it added.
The group had planned to carry out another attack on 3 October, the GBA said, giving no further details.
The violence in Chemnitz, where skinheads hounded migrants and performed the illegal Hitler salute in August, exposed deep divisions over chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome almost one million, mostly Muslim, refugees.
The events in the eastern city also strained Ms Merkel’s coalition government.
Her conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners could not agree what to do with the head of the BfV domestic spy agency, who questioned the authenticity of a video showing skinheads chasing migrants and was accused of harbouring far-right views.
The partners last month reached a compromise to transfer BfV chief Hans Georg Maassen to the interior ministry, ending a row that almost felled their six-month-old government.
The GBA said a seventh suspect, believed to be the leader of the group, was detained on 14 September on charges of threatening public peace. The GBA did not say whether his arrest had led to uncovering the organisation and its other members.
All seven members of the “criminal organisation” will appear before a judge who will decide whether to keep them in remand.
The Saxony interior ministry will hold a news conference about the arrests in the state capital of Dresden.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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