Radical Measures Germany Raids Leftist 'Terrorists' Ahead of G-8 Summit
Security officials have carried out a series of raids on left-wing organizations across Germany, saying radicals are plotting violent attacks during the upcoming G-8 summit.
A policeman arrests a protestor near the Hamburg cultural center Rote Flora during a raid Wednesday.
Nine hundred security officials searched some 40 sites in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and other parts of northern Germany. It took twenty federal prosecutors to coordinate the raids.
"The militant extreme left groups and their members are suspected of having founded a terrorist group, or of being members of such an organization, with the specific goal of staging fire bombings and other violent attacks in order to disrupt or prevent the upcoming G-8 summit in Heiligendamm," federal prosecutors said in a statement.
Left-wing groups denied the terror allegations. "The only point of these searches is to criminalize and disrupt the protests against the G-8," the Anti-Fascist Leftists of Berlin said in a statement. Leftist Internet media reported a list of 15 people whom they claimed had been taken into custody by police.
In Berlin, the raids focused on the traditionally left-wing neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Security officials searched a book store, as well as the offices and apartments of suspected G-8 spoilers.
Police also targeted a leftist cultural center in Hamburg. The Rote Flora, a dilapidated 19th century theater that was taken over by squatters in 1989, has played stage to clashes between rioters and police for many years. According to Rote Flora, police broke into the building at around 7 a.m. on Wednesday and confiscated 10 computers and several files. In other parts of northern Germany, police raided farms they suspected of being planning stations and storage facilities of the protestors.
The prosecutor's statement added that officials suspect the group of being behind nine minor attacks in the Hamburg area and three around Berlin over the past two years. The list of attacks included an incident last December when a car in front of the home of deputy finance minister Thomas Mirow was set on fire and his house's windows and walls splattered with paint. In a note claiming responsibility for the attack, the culprits named their objection to the G-8 summit as their motivation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States at the Heiligendamm summit in June. The leaders will be discussing contentious foreign policy topics like climate change and global economic coordination. German security officials have built a $17 million fence around Heiligendamm to keep protestors out.
The last time Germany experienced large-scale left-wing terrorism was during the 1970s and 1980s, when the militant Red Army Faction (RAF) waged a campaign of assassinations and kidnappings of establishment figures. The RAF formally disbanded in 1998.