“Anti-vaxxer murder plot” against the prime minister. Authorities thwarted a plot by anti-vaccination activists to assassinate 46-year-old Prime Minister of Saxony (East Germany) Michael Kretschmer, a member of the German Conservative opposition.
Plot to assassinate a German prime minister
It is the latest case in a series of incidents that show the anger of some citizens over the restrictions imposed on the unvaccinated and against the plans to impose compulsory vaccination for the general population. Dissatisfaction led to the planning of a assassin against the head of Saxony.
The state of Saxony has one of the highest levels of coronavirus infection in Germany, but also the lowest vaccination rate. The Land is a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is skeptical of vaccines and anti-quarantine protesters.
Firearms and crossbows
Members of a group called “Dresden Offlinevernetzung” or “Dresden offline network” suggested in a chat on the Telegram messaging platform that they may be in possession of firearms and crossbows, the Saxon police said.
The police investigation targeted six suspects – five men and a woman – aged between 32 and 64, the Dresden Prosecutor’s Office said, adding that several pieces of evidence had been found, including crossbows.
“A line has been crossed that we will not tolerate”
The Prime Minister of Saxony, Kretschmer, has called for new restrictions to be imposed on the country he leads to stem the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The official said that the right to freedom of expression must be respected, but not used as a cover for acts of violence. Land government Saxonia will mobilize additional staff to fight radicalism, Kretschmer said.
“Of course you can say what you don’t like. But when the violence comes, it’s over. A line has been crossed that we will not tolerate, “Kretschmer told reporters.
Saxony has the second highest incidence of COVID-19 in the last seven days in the 16 German states. In the former communist East Germany, about 62% of the population has been vaccinated twice, compared to about 70% nationally.
Threats with torches lit in front of the Health Minister’s home
Protests against COVID-19 restrictions in Germany have become more violent, with increasing attacks on doctors, politicians and journalists.
“Such attacks were inconceivable just a few years ago,” said Klaus Reinhardt, head of the German Medical Association.
In September, a vaccination center in Saxony was the target of an arson attack. Earlier this month, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Saxon Health Minister’s house with lighted torches, in what was considered a case of implicit threat of violence.
Journalists and politicians threatened with “bloody protests”
German broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday that more than a dozen politicians, media outlets and public institutions had received letters threatening a “bloody protest” against the measures. The letters were delivered in packages that included one piece of meat wrapped.
The German Federal Criminal Police has classified opponents of vaccination and coronavirus deniers as a “relevant risk,” according to Reuters.
In his first major speech to parliament since taking office, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that his government would not tolerate violent protests against coronavirus restrictions. “We will not tolerate a small minority of uninhibited extremists trying to impose their will on our entire society,” Scholz said.