How can I start my own government?
The seat of the "administrative government" in Pliening in Upper Bavaria seems inconspicuous. A normal single-family house, a few trees in the garden, the inscription "No advertising" on the mailbox - and another: "Central Administration of the Federal State of Bavaria". On a car parked in front of the house there is a coat of arms of the "Federal State of Bavaria".
Monika S. is responsible for the internal affairs area in the self-appointed government and thus also for press inquiries, as she herself says. But she does not want to give information on the phone, "because of the lies" that the media were spreading, she says. Asking a neighbor: "In the beginning I asked myself what all this was about, but they are harmless," says the woman. She doesn't want to say more, she turns away, the front door closes.
The police count the seemingly harmless neighbors among the so-called Reich Citizens, those people who question the legitimacy and even existence of the Federal Republic and do not feel bound by its laws. In October a citizen of the Reich shot at police officers in Georgensgmünd in Central Franconia, one died and several were seriously injured.
At Monika S. in Pliening, sympathizers for "Reichsbürger" meetings in Bavaria can register, many so-called decrees and orders of the "administrative government" are signed by S. Only recently, supporters of the "administrative government" met in the Freising area, also in Kaiserslautern, in the Palatinate Landau and in the Mannheim area, like-minded people came together these days.
The meetings are of course not open to the public; the supporters are informed of the meeting point a few hours before the meeting by email or a phone call. Only the participants learn what happens at the meetings.
"We would like to know that too," says Hans-Peter Kammerer from the Ingolstadt Police Headquarters when asked how many Reich citizens are active in the area around the "administrative government" of Pliening. The findings are so far thin, the police are in the process of creating a picture of the situation and gathering information, says Kammerer.
Pliening is a manageable municipality in the east of Munich, half catchment area of the Bavarian metropolis, half village. Trucks speed through the town heading for the A 99, and the beer tent is celebrated like a hundred years ago. "Everyone knows each other here," says Mayor Roland Frick. He knows that a self-appointed government has its seat in his town.
The mayor had representatives of the "administrative government" in his office three times. They brought books to him and read long quotations to explain their worldview to him. The members of the self-appointed government also wanted to hand over their identity documents. He did not accept the documents, says Frick, and when employees of the municipal administration found the papers one day in the mailbox of the town hall, they sent them back to their owners.
In the responsible district office in Ebersberg, the citizens of Plieningen are also known, they are not the only ones in the district. In the whole of Bavaria, their number is estimated at 1700, said Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann recently. Some "Reich citizens" tried to hand in their identification documents, explains Norbert Neugebauer, a spokesman for the district office. In some cases, the office takes action against these people for violating the identification requirement. And: This year alone, around 30 applications for citizenship cards have been received, says Neugebauer. Many citizens of the Reich believed that "stateless" is anyone who only has an identity card.
The "Reichsbürger" are also known in the Ebersberg district court
Even at the Ebersberg district court, the so-called Reich citizens have already attracted attention, "that is not just a bizarre marginal phenomenon," says Judge Markus Nikol. All over Bavaria there are incidents of such people approaching the judges, trying to disrupt the process or not even appearing in court despite being summoned.
That is why the Ministry of Justice is currently working on guidelines for dealing with "Reich citizens", says a spokeswoman. Training measures for court staff are also planned for the spring.
Most of the organizations that are attributed to the "Reichsbürgern" did not call themselves that, emphasized police spokesman Kammerer. They do not belong to a single movement, there are also several self-appointed governments in the Free State. What they all have in common, however, is at least that they do not recognize the Federal Republic and its laws. This criterion is also met by the self-appointed government in Pliening - it refers to the Prussian constitution of November 30, 1920. The territory of the Federal Republic of Germany is actually in Antarctica, according to an "order", the organization.
In the "order" that the "administrative government" sent to public institutions in November, "FRG employees" are threatened with penalties if they continue to pursue "sovereign administrative acts" on Bavarian territory. This means the work of the police, courts and other authorities. In fact, such threats are repeatedly put into practice: In Saxony, "Reichsbürger" in fake police uniforms had already tied a bailiff with cable ties in 2012.
Mayor Frick sounds a little annoyed when asked about the "administrative government". But he didn't want to get rid of the members of the organization, "they take the time," says Frick. He describes the members of the organization as "polite and confident". Then the word "Reichsbürger" is mentioned: Frick sighs, "difficult, very difficult", he says. After all, he used to be with the police himself once. Like the former colleagues who were shot at by a "Reichsbürger".
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