The searches targeted individual members of a group on the messaging app Telegram who reportedly discussed plans to kill the governor and other members of the government over their Covid-19 vaccine policies, Saxony police said in a statement.
German investigative TV magazine ZDF Frontal 21 first reported on the alleged plot last Tuesday. Saxony police said the news report prompted an official probe into the Telegram group “Dresden Offlinevernetzung,” which means Dresden Offline Networking in German.
Investigators uncovered communications in which people “uttered plans to murder Saxony’s governor and other members of Saxony’s state government.” Some individual group members hinted they were allegedly in possession of “live weapons and cross-bows,” police said.
Kai Anders, a spokesman for Saxony’s state criminal investigations office, said weapons parts were found during the raids. Including pieces of cross-bows. However, authorities are still looking at whether the pieces “could be assembled to form a weapon and one that can fire.”
Anders would not confirm whether arrests were made during the early morning raids.
Saxony’s governor, Michael Kretschmar, condemned the alleged plot on his official Twitter account. “Now is the hour to act. Our democracy must be defended,” Kretschmar said. “Groups on Telegram that spread disunity and demagoguery must be shown their limits.”
Protests against new restrictions on the unvaccinated and plans to make jabs compulsory for some groups in Germany have recently become more violent, with increased attacks on doctors, politicians and journalists, Reuters reports.
Vaccinations will become mandatory from March 16 for people working in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical practices.
Saxony, which has the second highest rate of new coronavirus cases in Germany and the lowest vaccination rate, has seen protests by opponents of coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks, according to Reuters.
Last month, a group of protesters held a torch-lit gathering outside the home of Saxony’s interior minister, in what was widely seen as an implicit threat of violence against her.