Germany has banned the patriotic group Sturmbrigade 44 for "spreading hatred", the country’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, according to the Deutsche Welle (DW) newspaper.
The move followed a series of raids against several group members across three German states, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia and aimed to confiscate the association’s assets and possible "right-wing extremist propaganda". Almost 200 police officers allegedly found "weapons", including kitchen knives and crossbows, as well as patriotic items such as swastikas and National Socialist flags, the Interior Ministry added.
The group, also known as Wolf Brigade 44 has existed since 2016, was initially active under the name Storm Brigade 44, and has an established structure. Its members have "openly declared their support for Adolf Hitler," the ministry said, adding that the group was "particularly characterized by militaristic appearance" and "pronounced racism" as part of an "inhuman ideology."
"Anyone who combats the basic values of our liberal society will feel the decisive reaction of our constitutional state," Steve Alter, the spokesperson of the Interior Ministry wrote in a Twitter post, quoting Seehofer as saying.
The country has already banned three National Socialist organisations earlier this year, including Combat 18, Nordadler and the Reichsbuerger-Vereinigung.