German authorities continue hunt for members in coup plot

German authorities are searching for more people suspected of being involved in a foiled coup attempt by members linked to the far-right Reichsbürger movement, German reporting said Thursday.

More raids and arrests are expected following the arrest of at least 25 members of a “domestic terrorist organization” Wednesday after they planned to overthrow the German government by force and install a “prince” related to the former German royal family instead. 

Authorities have said they are still combing through the evidence collected during the Wednesday raids but noted that at least two more people were discovered in connection with the anti-government scheme, bringing the number of suspects up to 54, reported German news outlet DW. 

“You can’t say that a group comprising a two-digit or perhaps small three-digit number of people was in a position to truly put the German state system in doubt, let alone shatter it,” head of Germany’s criminal police Holger Münch reportedly said Thursday. 

“But we do have a dangerous mixture of people here, following irrational convictions, some of them with a lot of money and others in possession of weapons, and with a plan that they do want to carry out,” he added. “And that does make it dangerous and that’s why we have now intervened and put up a clear ‘stop’ sign.”

Fractions of the far-right Reichsbürger movement were banned in 2020 as Berlin looked to tamp down on right-wing extremism and antisemitism. 

Members involved in the coup plot foiled Wednesday are said to be related to the Reichsbürger movement, which denies the existence of the modern-day German government.

This week’s operation involved some 3,000 security personnel who raided 150 properties in 11 German states, according to updated reporting Thursday.

Ringleader of the plot, who was identified as Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, a descendant of the German noble family with ties to the royal House of Reuss was arrested Wednesday. 

The 71-year-old planned to install himself as the ruler of Germany.

A hunting lodge in eastern Germany owned by the schemer has reportedly become a priority in the investigation.

Eastern Germany has seen an apparent rise in the number of far-right supporters who back the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which has garnered international attention for its radicalized beliefs. 

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