Germany charges alleged neo-Nazi who tried to start 'race war'

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Police officers carried out raids last week as part of a major investigation into far-right groups.
Police officers carried out raids last week as part of a major investigation into far-right groups.   -   Copyright  Martin Wichmann TV/dpa via AP   -  

German prosecutors have charged a suspected neo-Nazi for allegedly trying to start a "race war".

The German federal prosecutor's office announced Wednesday that a supporter of the US-based "Atomwaffen Division" has been indicted.

The suspect -- named only as Marvin E. -- is accused of "trying to found a terrorist organisation," according to a statement.

He is also alleged to have prepared to commit a "serious and dangerous act of violence" on the German state.

Last year -- according to prosecutors -- the then-teenager had tried to unleash "a civil war of races" within three years to "preserve the white population".

He allegedly supported the ideology of the "Atomwaffen Division," a far-right group created in the United States that is known for recruiting young members from university campuses.

Prosecutors say the young man had started to research purchasing weapons online to use to manufacture explosives.

He is also accused of planning to set up an "Atomwaffen Hessen Division" -- named after his home town in western Germany -- and has been imprisoned since his arrest in September 2021.

The decision to charge him comes just days after German authorities carried out a major raid on far-right extremist groups, as part of a wider investigation since 2019 involving police and military intelligence services.

Four suspects from the so-called "Knockout 51" group were arrested in central Germany on 6 April.

The group allegedly held training sessions at the local headquarters of a small far-right party in Eisenach and aimed to indoctrinate young men and train them in street fighting.

Members of the network are also believed to have clashed with police during protests against COVID-19 restrictions.

On Thursday, German police also arrested four people and seized weapons in a separate investigation into anti-government extremists.

**The group had allegedly planned to destroy Germany’s electricity supply facilities and kidnap the country’s health minister Karl Lauterbach. **

Prosecutors in Koblenz and Rhineland-Palatinate’s state criminal police office said that raids were carried out at 20 properties across the country following an investigation that was launched in October.

The suspects were members of a chat group called “United Patriots,” they said.

The suspects -- all German citizens -- are accused of preparing a serious act of violence and of violating weapons laws.

**Authorities also seized 22 firearms, ammunition, gold bars and silver coins, more than €10,000 in cash, mobile phones, and fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates.
**

"This is a small minority in our society but they are highly dangerous," Lauterbach told a news conference.

"This shows that COVID protests have not just radicalised but that this is about more than just COVID," he added.