Alleged neo-Nazi gang goes on trial in Germany
The case surrounds alleged plans for violent attacks to spark an insurrection in Berlin.
“Revolution Chemnitz” and other extremist groups are suspected of plotting attacks to throw Germany into chaos and stage a far-right takeover.
Revolution Chemnitz’s eight suspects, aged from 21 to 32, are accused of forming an extremist terrorist cell in Chemnitz in September last year.
The trial is expected to last for at least seven months. It involves more than 60 files and testimony from around 75 witnesses.
The accused are alleged ringleaders of skinhead, hooligan and neo-Nazi activity in Chemnitz.
An anti-migrant pogrom erupted in the city in August last year following the fatal stabbing of a German by a Syrian immigrant.
Last month the Syrian man, Alaa Sheikhi, was sentenced to 9½ years in jail over the fatal stabbing of Daniel Hillig.
Prosecutors claim five of the suspects “armed with glass bottles, weighted knuckle gloves and an electroshock appliance” attacked foreign residents during September last year.
It is alleged the attacks were a trial run for a more extensive operation in Berlin on October 3, 2018.
Germany marks National Unity Day on October 3, to commemorate the reunification in 1990.
They were arrested on October 1.
In July 2018 a neo-Nazi, Beate Zschäpe, was jailed for life for the murder of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.
She was in a neo-Nazi group called the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Major failures in the surveillance of the group alarmed German public opinion.
Chemnitz is in Saxony, a state with one of the highest levels of extreme-right activity.
Saxony has seen support rising for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the anti-Islam Pegida movement. In this month’s regional elections, the AfD won 27.5 per cent of the vote, behind the Christian Democratic Union with 32 per cent.
The AfD, which has campaigned against “Islamisation”, is now the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the police last year uncovered 1,091 weapons during investigations linked to the extreme right, compared to 676 found in 2017.
Chemnitz last year. Picture credit: Wikimedia