German police carried out raids Wednesday against anti-vaxxers in response to an alleged plot to kill the eastern state of Saxony’s governor.
The anti-vaccination activists were accused of using messaging platform Telegram to discuss killing Michael Kretschmer, who leads a state where COVID-19 infection rates are among the highest in Germany and vaccination rates are the lowest, police said.
Members of the “Dresden Offlinevernetzung” — or Dresden offline network — had suggested that they might be in possession of firearms and crossbows, Reuters reported, citing Saxony police.
Five properties in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, and one in the nearby town of Heidenau were searched in an investigation that was triggered by a report last week on ZDF TV.
The group’s 103 members shared a rejection of jabs and the current coronavirus policy, according to the report, which featured audio messages in which they urged opposing policy measures, including “with armed force if necessary.”
Six members of the Telegram group are under investigation — five men and one woman, all German citizens, ages 32 to 64, police spokesman Tom Bernhardt said.
Police recovered “crossbows, parts of weapons, and weapons,” he said. “Whether these are capable of firing or are so-called live weapons at all, we will see in the course of the investigation.”
Kretschmer said threats against officials, scientists and journalists “are unacceptable, will not be tolerated and will be pursued with all our strength.”
New Chancellor Olaf Scholz told parliament Wednesday that “we won’t put up with a tiny minority of uninhibited extremists trying to impose its will on the whole of our society.”
Protests against new restrictions on the unvaccinated and plans to make inoculations mandatory for some groups in Germany have recently become more violent, with increased attacks on doctors, politicians and journalists.
On March 16, vaccinations will become mandatory for people working in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities amid a strong fourth wave of the virus.
The national government has strengthened restrictions on unvaccinated people, banning them from public venues, restaurants and non-essential commerce.
With Post wires