BERLIN (AP) — German investigators carried out raids on Wednesday related to an alleged coup plot involving supporters of a far-right movement, authorities said. A police officer was shot in the arm during one of the searches.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann tweeted that federal prosecutors ordered searches of 20 properties and that the move was related to the Reich Citizens movement, a loose grouping whose supporters deny the legitimacy of the present-day German Constitution and government. They claim instead that the German empire, or Reich, of 1871 still exists.
The incident in which a police offer was shot at “shows how dangerous the deployments are,” Buschmann said. He added that weapons authorities “are obliged to disarm ‘Reich Citizens.'”
In December, German authorities said they had uncovered an alleged coup plot that resulted in the detention of more than 20 people linked to the Reich Citizens movement.
Federal prosecutors said that police special forces officers went on Wednesday to search the home of a man in the southwestern town of Reutlingen who was listed as a witness in that case. They said police found the man, identified only as Markus L. in line with German privacy rules, in his living room with a firearm trained at officers.
The man ignored repeated demands to put down the weapon and an exchange of fire followed in which one officer was shot in the arm. Markus L. was then arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and bodily harm, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said separately that there are now five more suspects in connection with the the raids in December — in various parts of Germany and neighboring Switzerland — who are accused of supporting a terror organization, German news agency dpa reported.
They added that the latest action in eight German states and in Switzerland also involved searches of the properties of 14 people who aren't suspects.