Germany Detains Six Suspected of Forming Far-right Terror Group in Chemnitz

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FILE PHOTO: People attend a far-right "Pro Chemnitz" group demonstration in Chemnitz, Germany, September 7, 2018. The banner reads: "We are the people".
FILE PHOTO: People attend a far-right "Pro Chemnitz" group demonstration in Chemnitz, Germany, September 7, 2018. The banner reads: "We are the people".Credit: REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

German police detained six men on Monday suspected of forming a far-right militant organization which assaulted foreigners in the eastern city of Chemnitz and planned attacks on politicians and civil servants, the federal prosecutor's office said. 

Some 100 policemen backed by special commando units detained the six suspects aged 28 to 30, acting on warrants issued by the Federal Court of Justice on Sept. 28, the prosecutor said. 

The men are accused of forming "Revolution Chemnitz", an organization named after the city where the fatal stabbing of a German man blamed on migrants in August prompted the worst far-right violence in Germany in decades. 

"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," prosecutors said. 

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The group had planned to attack senior civil servants and politicians, they said. 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 organization pursued terrorist goals." 

The far-right 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 asylum seekers. 

The events in the eastern city also strained 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 harboring 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. 

A seventh suspect, believed to be the leader of the group, was detained on Sept. 14 on charges of threatening public peace. 

The GBA did not say whether his arrest had led to uncovering the organization and its other members. 

All seven members of the "criminal organization" will appear before a judge who will decide whether to keep them in remand. 

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