Po­lice ar­rest six men linked to neo-Nazi group in Ger­many

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD - Hui Min Neo

GER­MAN po­lice on Mon­day ar­rested six men on sus­pi­cion of be­long­ing to a far-right “ter­ror­ist” group that at­tacked for­eign­ers in the city of Chem­nitz.

The Ger­man na­tion­als, aged 20 to 31, were taken into cus­tody for al­legedly form­ing a group called “Revo­lu­tion Chem­nitz” with the aim of sub­vert­ing the demo­cratic state.

“To this end, they in­tended to launch vi­o­lent and armed at­tacks against for­eign­ers and peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views,” said fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in a state­ment.

Their tar­gets in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives of dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties as well as mem­bers of the eco­nomic es­tab­lish­ment, the pros­e­cu­tors said.

They added that the group ap­peared to have been plan­ning an as­sault on Ger­many’s Unity Day, which falls on Wed­nes­day.

“They wanted to change the coun­try,” in­ves­ti­ga­tors told Mu­nich-based daily Sued­deutsche Zeitung (SZ).

Cit­ing in­ter­cepted chats and tele­phone calls, SZ re­ported that the men “wanted to achieve more than the Na­tional So­cial­ist Un­der­ground” or NSU, a neo-Nazi ex­trem­ist group un­cov­ered in 2011 that mur­dered 10 peo­ple and planted three bombs.

As well as politi­cians, the group wanted to at­tack jour­nal­ists, who they re­ferred to as “the me­dia dic­ta­tor­ship and its slaves”, the news­pa­per added.

‘Un­com­fort­able spot­light’

The ar­rests once again cast an un­com­fort­able spot­light on ex­trem­ism in Sax­ony state, where Chem­nitz is lo­cated and which is a strong­hold of the far-right party AfD.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are still try­ing to de­ter­mine if the sus­pects were in­volved in the wave of xeno­pho­bic marches that swept Chem­nitz at the end of Au­gust fol­low­ing a fa­tal stab­bing, al­legedly by an asy­lum seeker.

But pros­e­cu­tors said that on Septem­ber 14 five of the sus­pects “armed with glass bot­tles, weighted knuckle gloves, and an elec­troshock ap­pli­ance, at­tacked and hurt sev­eral for­eign res­i­dents” in Chem­nitz.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions show that the as­sault was a test-run for an event that one of the ac­cused planned for Oc­to­ber 3, 2018,” said pros­e­cu­tors.

More than 100 po­lice of­fi­cers were de­ployed to search apart­ments and other premises.

“With the ar­rests and raids, we are send­ing a clear sig­nal that we are iden­ti­fy­ing and break­ing up such right-wing ter­ror­ist struc­tures early,” said Sax­ony In­te­rior Min­is­ter Roland Woeller.

Ger­many’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Kata­rina Bar­ley high­lighted the sus­pects’ links to the foot­ball hooli­gan, skin­head and neo-Nazi scenes and warned that “the net­work un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion does not stand in iso­la­tion”.

At least one of the men, Tom W, was con­victed 10 years ago over his role as a leader of a vi­o­lent 50-strong far-right group known as “Sturm 34” that was ul­ti­mately banned, SZ re­ported.

Deep re­sent­ment

Sax­ony, a for­mer com­mu­nist state, has gained no­to­ri­ety as the home base of sev­eral ex­trem­ist groups.

Eight mem­bers of a far-right out­fit called the Fre­ital group were jailed in March on ter­ror­ism and at­tempted mur­der charges for a se­ries of ex­plo­sions tar­get­ing refugees and anti-fas­cist ac­tivists.

Mem­bers of the NSU, re­spon­si­ble for sev­eral racist killings, also evaded po­lice for years in Chem­nitz and an­other Sax­ony town, Zwickau.

Most re­cently, Chem­nitz has been po­larised over the ques­tion of mi­grants since 35-year-old car­pen­ter Daniel Hille was stabbed to death on Au­gust 26.

Po­lice prob­ing that killing have de- tained a Syr­ian man, Alaa S, 23, while an in­ter­na­tional war­rant has been is­sued for an Iraqi.

In the hours af­ter the stab­bing, thou­sands of peo­ple took to the streets in protest, an­swer­ing calls by far-right party AfD and na­tion­al­ist group PEGIDA, which cam­paigns against what it calls the Is­lami­sa­tion of the West.

Po­lice found them­selves over­whelmed by the swift mo­bil­i­sa­tion of the re­gion’s foot­ball hooli­gans and right-wing ex­trem­ists.

Au­gust’s week of xeno­pho­bic protests in Chem­nitz deeply shocked Ger­many, prompt­ing Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to urge Ger­mans to stand up against the far right.

Merkel is due to visit Chem­nitz in Novem­ber, but she faces a cold re­cep­tion. Re­sent­ment runs deep over her lib­eral refugee pol­icy that led to the ar­rival of mil­lions of asy­lum seek­ers in Ger­many since 2015.

CHRISTOPH SCH­MIDT/AFP

Po­lice­men es­cort a sus­pected right-wing ter­ror­ist af­ter ar­riv­ing at the Fed­eral Supreme Court in Karl­sruhe, south­ern of Ger­many, on Mon­day.

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