Police raids in Saxony over alleged plot to murder pro-vaccine politician
Police conducted raids in several locations in the state of Saxony on Wednesday morning, in connection with an alleged plot to murder the pro-vaccination politician Michael Kretschmer.
Raids in six locations in Saxony over anti-vaxxer plot
German police have launched an investigation into what they described as a plot by anti-vaccination activists to murder the state premier of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer. Police searched five properties in Dresden on Monday morning, and a further property in the nearby town of Heidenau.
The raids targeted members of a group - known as the Dresden Offlinevernetzung (Dresden offline networking) - that had used the messaging service Telegram to discuss plans to kill the CDU politician and other representatives of the state government.
Detailing the operation in a series of posts on Twitter, Saxony police said specialist forces from the domestic intelligence agency (LKA) became involved after members of the group had suggested that they might be in possession of firearms or other hunting weapons like crossbows.
ZDF investigation uncovered messages in Telegram group
The investigation was opened after investigative journalists from the ZDF show Frontal infiltrated the Telegram chat, reporting last week that members were discussing plans to assassinate Kretschmer and other politicians. ZDF uncovered messages from over a hundred members of the group, “Linked by their opposition to vaccines, to the state and the current health policies.”
In one audio message, a group member called for COVID measures to be opposed, “with armed force if necessary” and for politicians to be targeted, in particular Kretschmer. Some participants not only exchanged messages in the group, but also apparently met in person to discuss their plans.
Kretschmer says threats have given him energy
After the threats against Kretschmer came to light last week, the state premier said, “We must use all legal means to counter such intimidation. People in public office shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak up and do their job.” While admitting that the threats were concerning, he added that they have given him “strength and energy” to continue doing his job. “If we treated each other like this, then this country would be lost,” he said.
New Chancellor Olaf Scholz also added his voice to the condemnation. “We will not allow a tiny minority of uninhibited extremists to try to impose its will on the whole of society,” he said during his first speech as chancellor to the parliament. “Germany will use all the means of its democratic rule of law to defend itself against this tiny minority of the hateful attacking the rest of us.”