German opposition asks if coup plotters were tipped off about police raids

Some suspects were informed a week before that police would be coming to their house, according to local media.

German opposition asks if coup plotters were tipped off about police raids

Germany’s main opposition party on Monday urged the government to investigate claims that the far-right coup plotters might have been tipped off about the police raids last week.

The opposition Christian Democrats called for an extraordinary meeting of parliament’s home and legal affairs committees to get more information from the government representatives about the foiled coup plot, public broadcaster ARD reported.

Opposition lawmakers “want to know whether suspects might have been tipped off about the police raids” and whether they had time to hide weapons and destroy evidence that could assist the investigators, the report said.

The German police foiled a far-right coup plot on Wednesday, arresting more than two dozen far-right figures and ex-military officers in one of the largest anti-terror operations in the country’s history.

The group procured weapons and developed concrete plans to create nationwide chaos, storm the German parliament, and overthrow the state by military means, according to the prosecutors.

Local media reports revealed that some of the suspects were informed at least a week before the raids that the police would be soon coming to their houses.

A week before the raid, far-right suspect Maximilian Eder called one of his neighbors from abroad, and told her that next week the police could come to his house and also ask questions to the neighbors about him, according to daily Tagesspiegel.

Eder, a retired army officer, was arrested in Italy last week as part of the anti-terror operation.

The far-right group included several ex-military officers, one active soldier from the Special Forces Command, two non-active soldiers, and several reservists, according to initial investigations.

A serving police officer in Lower Saxony, who was working at a unit monitoring right-wing extremists, was among the 23 suspects arrested on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Heinrich Reuss – a descendant of a noble family who is also known as Prince Heinrich XIII – was the leading figure in the group.

He allegedly held various meetings with the plotters in his small castle in Saaldorf, in the central German state of Thuringia, and was planning to become the leader of the country after the coup.

Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a former lawmaker of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), was among the suspects and she was picked up as the justice minister of the coup regime.

Most of the suspects were followers of the far-right Reichsburger (Reich Citizens) movement, who reject the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany and believe that the country is governed by members of a so-called “deep state.”

Many refuse to pay taxes and they are often in conflict with authorities. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV estimates that the scene has around 23,000 followers.