Germany pledged this Wednesday to “defend itself” against radicalized anti-vaccination groups in the country. The promise comes after German police carried out a series of raids in the state of Saxony, following alleged death threats against politician Michael Kretschmer, for defending restrictive measures to combat the pandemic in the region.
The operation carried out by the criminal police in the Saxony region, in eastern Germany, came after journalists from the public television network ZDF infiltrated a group on the social network Telegram, in which death threats were made against the minister. Saxon state president Michael Kretschmer (CDU Christian Democratic Union), in favor of vaccination.
“The statements of some members of the group suggest that they could be in possession of real weapons and crossbows,” the police said in a statement. The authorities suspected “the preparation of a violent crime that threatens the state” and therefore invaded several places in the region to find the perpetrators of the threats.
The investigation targets five men and a woman “suspected of preparing for a serious act of violence” and of having “plans to assassinate” Saxony’s minister-president, among other regional authorities,” the police statement said. it helps whether arrests were made or how many weapons were seized.
A strong, partially radicalized movement emerged in Germany against health restrictions imposed during the covid-19 pandemic. It is particularly strong in Saxony, in the former communist East Germany, one of the regions hardest hit by the virus and where the vaccination rate is lower than the national average.
Although Kretschmer initially did not impose restrictive measures to combat the pandemic, his stance changed when the state of Saxony became one of the regions most affected by the covid-19 pandemic in the country. Currently, Saxony has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Germany, with only 61.9% of the population vaccinated with the first dose, and it also has the second highest infection rate in the territory.
The new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in his inaugural address condemned what he called “a tiny and hateful minority that attacks everyone with torch marches, violence and calls for murder”, adding that German society would not be divided. Scholz also promised a zero tolerance policy against these extremist groups. On Monday night around 3500 people demonstrated in the city of Magdeburg, shouting “peace, freedom, no dictatorship”. Street protests against restrictions are almost daily and sometimes result in violence.
Mandatory vaccination is a measure to combat the new wave of infections
The truth is that Germany is arm in arm with a new wave of infections and has seen in recent days records for daily cases being broken. One of the main reasons for the uncontrolled growth of the pandemic in the country is linked to the low rate of vaccination among Germans. Only about 69% of the population is fully vaccinated, a percentage similar to that of other countries in the European Union, but once considered low for containing the virus.
Last week, German deputies approved a law requiring health professionals to be vaccinated against covid-19, a first step before the extension of mandatory vaccination to the rest of the country’s population, expected for the beginning of 2022. targeted by the new measure have until March 15 to prove full vaccination, otherwise, they will not be able to work.
* With agencies
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Germany declares ‘war’ on the country’s radical anti-vaccines