German police conducted raids on the premises nationwide of a neo-Nazi and antisemitic far-right political movement called Reichsbürger (Citizens of the Reich) on Thursday, according to a report released by the BBC.
Police found numerous firearms and neo-Nazi propaganda on the premises, as raids occurred in 10 of the 16 states comprising Germany.
Members of the Reichsbürger movement share the belief that the current arrangement of the German state is that of an illegitimate entity, claiming that the German federal republic is a type of private company. The movement has also been known for their calls for the reestablishment of the pre-WWII German Reich, or Empire, and for Holocaust denial.
The far-right movement is estimated to have about 19,000 members in Germany, and those targeted in the raids have been known to spread racist propaganda and threats.
In response to the raids, Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter said that racism "even in times of crisis" will be fought, in an apparent reference to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic impacting much of Western Europe.
The raids come following repeated crackdowns by the German government on various far-right and neo-Nazi organizations operating in the country and throughout its institutions, including the military. In some cases, raids on neo-Nazi organizations have become violent. In October 2017, a Bavarian court sentenced a member of Reichsbürger for the killing of a German policeman during a raid on his house in 2016.
Last month, a gunman professing far-right conspiracy theories murdered nine people of foreign ancestry in Hanau. It was also reported that German authorities have placed the far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance, while the violent neo-Nazi organization Combat 18 was banned earlier this year.