Germany’s intelligence service said on Wednesday it would put some members of the country’s anti-lockdown movement under surveillance as concerns grow that their movement is attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the state.
In a statement, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said they are focusing on members of the ''Querdenker'' movement which promotes coronavirus scepticism, conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine rhetoric.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the Querdenker movement has already shown a willingness to use violence and warned that extremists were “trying to take control of the movement.”
“Right wing extremists are trying to take control [of these events] - and what we cannot tolerate at all is violence,” the interior minister said at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
The movement - whose name means “thinking outside the box” -- have been protesting anti-lockdown measures since the start of the pandemic and have ties to the far right.
During anti-lockdown protests, members frequently clashed with police and attacked members of the media.
The move comes as Germany reported an increase of 24,736 new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's national agency for disease and control prevention.
The death toll in Germany has risen by 264, according to RKI data, bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths to 82,544.