By AFP – Sep 30,2019 – JORDAN TIMES
BERLIN/DRESDEN, Germany — The trial of a neo-Nazi “terrorist” cell accused of plotting a violent political uprising in Germany opened on Monday amid signs the country’s far-right scene is growing more militant.
Eight members of the so-called Revolution Chemnitz group aged between 21 and 32 are answering to charges of “forming a right-wing terrorist organisation”.
“They wanted to change the history of the Federal Republic of Germany and bring about a transformation of the political system,” Federal Prosecutor Kai Lohse told Dresden’s superior regional court.
They allegedly sought to carry out “armed and deadly attacks” against immigrants, political “opponents”, reporters and members of the economic establishment.
Authorities believe the group’s members were trying to acquire semi-automatic weapons and draw militants from across Europe to carry out a potential bloodbath last year in Berlin on October 3, Germany’s National Unity Day.
“This is one of the most important trials to date dealing with far-right terrorism,” Chief Federal Prosecutor Peter Frank said.
Security agencies hope the trial, which is set to last until at least April and hear around 75 witnesses will reveal what exactly was being plotted and the scope of the network.
Almost a year to the day after the arrest of most of the suspects in coordinated raids, the proceedings are taking place under tight security in the capital of Saxony state, a stronghold of the extreme right.
Resentment runs deep in the region over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy that led to the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers to Germany since 2015.
A violent ‘test-run’
The defendants belong to the hooligan, neo-Nazi and skinhead scene in and around Chemnitz, another city in Saxony, which was the site of anti-migrant street violence following the murder of a German man in August last year.
Last month a 24-year-old Syrian man was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail for the knife killing.
In the hours after the stabbing, thousands of people took to the streets in protest, answering calls by the Alternative for Germany Party and nationalist group PEGIDA, which campaigns against what it calls the Islamisation of the West.
The defendants launched an online chat group under the name Revolution Chemnitz around the same time, in early September 2018.
Prosecutors said that on September 14 five of the suspects “armed with glass bottles, weighted knuckle gloves, and an electroshock appliance, attacked and hurt several foreign residents” in Chemnitz.
“Investigations show that the assault was a test-run for an event that one of the accused planned for October 3, 2018,” they said.