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Title: Germany: major police operation against the perpetrators of racist messages on Internet
Author: John Silva
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German police conducted 60 raids as part of the first national operation against perpetrators of hate speech on the Internet. A blitz aimed...
German police conducted 60 raids as part of the first national operation against perpetrators of hate speech on the Internet. A blitz aimed specifically an active neo-Nazi group on Facebook.

German police announced on Wednesday 13 July, having conducted 60 searches in 14 Länder (German regions) on the first day of action against perpetrators of hate speech on the Internet in Germany. An unprecedented blitz described as "warning" by the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, in a press release.

This action specifically targeted a Facebook group called neo-Nazi "secret" by the police. Between July and November 2015, German investigators have discovered multiple messages glorifying Hitler's regime, calling for violence against refugees and uttering racist and anti-Semitic.

Mainly in Bavaria

The homes of 40 people suspected of belonging to the group were raided. Most of them, including the two leaders, resident in Bavaria, a Land in the south of Germany. Propaganda material and evidence of the crimes were found on computers and mobile phones seized.

These raids come amid growing tensions in Germany, where about one million migrants arrived last year. populist movements like Pegida or party Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) maintain a poisonous climate multiplying the statements and provocations against immigrants. In May, one of the main leaders of the AFD was thus declared that "Islam was not compatible with the German constitution."

No anonymity

In this poisonous atmosphere, the Germans decided to pour a stream of growing hate messages on the Internet. A Tumblr blog lists for over a year the main racist slippages mainly on Facebook.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had even asked the American king of social networks, in September 2015, to be firmer with regard to this type of content. That did not stop German Internet users to continue their activism on Facebook, saying the platform gave them a degree of anonymity.


Police action on Wednesday also is to remind the authorities can trace the source of hate messages. This must have, according to the Minister of Justice, both a punitive and preventive. The suspects targeted by the searches liable if they are found guilty of incitement to hatred or violence, with a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

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