Calls for crackdown on anti-government extremists in Germany

BERLIN (AP) " German lawmakers called for a crackdown on anti-government extremists Friday in response to the killing this week of a police officer by an adherent of the so-called Reich Citizens Movement.

The 32-year-old officer died a day after being shot in the Bavarian town of Georgensgmuend on Wednesday. Officials had ordered the 49-year-old shooter's hoard of firearms confiscated because he was deemed unfit to own them due to repeated clashes with authorities.

Stephan Mayer, a lawmaker with the governing conservatives, said Germany's domestic intelligence agency should consider monitoring the Reich Citizens Movement, a loose grouping with links to nationalist parties and far-right groups.

The movement refuses to acknowledge the authority of the post-war Federal Republic of Germany and has been compared to the U.S. sovereign citizen movement.

"There need to be consequences from this case," Mayer told the Berliner Zeitung daily. "The Reich citizens aren't just pests and oddballs, but also criminals who oppose the state."

Irene Mihalic, a former police officer and lawmaker with the opposition Green Party, said security agencies had underestimated the threat posed by Reich citizens.

She told German public broadcaster ARD that authorities had known for some time that the movement was "very aggressive and in parts armed."

Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said the domestic intelligence agency had been asked to carry out a "careful examination" of whether authorities' assessment of the movement needs to be changed, but cautioned against haste.

"This is an appalling incident ... but one that was caused by an individual," he told reporters in Berlin.

"We should take a very close look, and that is happening," he said. "Whether a different assessment is reached regarding the extremist potential will come out of this examination."

On Thursday, a self-styled Reich citizen attacked police officers in the eastern town of Salzwedel. The 43-year-old man had refused to comply with dog licensing laws, said police spokesman Gerd Schoenfeld.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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