German police conduct raids over alleged COVID death threats

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A police car is seen in the Pieschen district during a raid after threats against Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer, in Dresden, Germany, early Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Police in eastern Germany are carried out raids in an investigation of alleged threats to kill a state governor and others by opponents of coronavirus restrictions and vaccinations. They said that five properties in Dresden and one in a nearby town were being searched on Wednesday in an investigation of suspected preparations for a serious act of violence. (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Police in eastern Germany carried out raids Wednesday in an investigation of alleged threats to kill a state governor and others by opponents of coronavirus restrictions and vaccinations.

Five properties in Dresden and one in the nearby town of Heidenau were being searched in an investigation of suspected preparations for a serious act of violence, police said on Twitter.

The investigation was triggered by a report last week on ZDF television that a group on messenger service Telegram discussed plans to kill Saxony’s state governor, Michael Kretschmer, and other members of the state government. Dresden is the capital of Saxony, which has seen frequent protests against coronavirus policy and has Germany’s lowest vaccination rate.

According to the report, the group’s 103 members shared a rejection of vaccinations, the state and the current coronavirus policy. It featured audio messages in which people urged opposing policy measures “with armed force if necessary,” directed against Kretschmer and others. Police have said that comments by some members on their alleged possession of weapons and crossbows are part of the investigation.

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