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June 30
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Germany has arrested four people suspected of plotting to kidnap the health minister and destroy power facilities to cut off power across the country, Reuters reports.

According to German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the thwarted plot to kidnap him showed that there are forces at play that are using protests against COVID-19 restrictions to destabilize the state and the country's democratic system.

They are a small minority in our society, but they are very dangerous, Lauterbach said at a press conference.

The suspects were linked to groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions and to the far-right Reichsburger movement, which denies the existence of a modern German state, prosecutors in the western city of Koblenz said in a statement.

This shows that the protests against COVID have not just radicalized, and it is not only about COVID, Lauterbach said.

The plot to kidnap him is the latest in a series of incidents that have highlighted the anger of some Germans at restrictions on those who have not been vaccinated and proposals to make vaccination mandatory for the general public.

In December, police foiled a plot by anti-vaccination activists to assassinate the prime minister of the state of Saxony in eastern Germany.

The suspects behind the latest conspiracy were chatting on a chat group called Vereinte Patrioten, German for Patriots United, and intended to cause civil war-like conditions and ultimately overthrow the democratic system in Germany, prosecutors said.

Authorities searched 20 properties across several German states, confiscating weapons including firearms, ammunition and a Kalashnikov assault rifle, cash in euros and foreign currencies, as well as gold bars and silver coins.

Fake vaccination certificates and COVID tests were also found, the agency said.

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