Germany has launched an investigation into its own police force to flush out anti-government extremists in its ranks.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that state police forces have begun disciplinary proceedings against over a dozen officers who are allegedly members of the so-called Reich Citizens Movement.
A spokesman for Germany’s Interior Ministry, Johannes Dimroth, said on Monday that two federal police officers were also being investigated.
The probe follows a series of violent incidents involving members of the Reich movement.
Dimroth said, “Ideological agreement with the goals of this group stands in stark contrast with what’s expected of serving police officers.”
But he said there would not be a general screening of all civil servants.
An officer died two weeks ago after being shot by a self-styled Reich citizen.
The Reich Citizens Movement also known as Reichsbürgerbewegung or Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) is a label for several groups and individuals in Germany and elsewhere who reject the legitimacy of the modern German state.
The Reich Citizens Movement maintain that the German Reich continues to exist in its pre-World War II borders of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and use Deutsches Reich as its official name.
Deutsches Reich is governed by a Kommissarische Reichsregierung (Provisional Reich Government) or Exilregierung (Government in Exile).
Reich is a German word literally meaning “realm.” It is used in German to refer to empires and kingdoms respectively. Deutsches Reich is often translated to “German Empire.”