The police in Saxony launched a series of raids after Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer was threatened with death for supporting measures against the corona virus.

Right-wing anti-vaccination opponents are suspected of planning violence with crossbows or other “piercing weapons”.

Saxony has the lowest Covid vaccination in Germany.

Last year, Mr. Kretschmer warned of Covid “hysteria”, but later apologized and has supported strict measures since then.

Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz told MPs on Wednesday that “this tiny minority of unrestrained extremists” should not impose their will on society.

The Saxon police said that security forces, including the Soko Rex special unit, searched a number of locations in response to threats against the prime minister highlighted in a German television documentary a week ago.

The conspiracy against Mr Kretschmer was first exposed by the Frontal program, whose journalists had infiltrated a group of around 100 people who were communicating through the Telegram messaging app.

Under the name Dresden Online Networking, the members would discuss ideas and even meet in parks, reported the public broadcaster ZDF. The program monitored a conversation in which a man spoke of being armed and ready.

Police said statements had been made about plans to assassinate the prime minister and other state officials.

The revelations sparked an outcry in Germany. Mr Kretschmer said that all legal means should be used against such threats.

“People in public office shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and do their jobs,” he said.

Germany locks unvaccinated people out of a large part of public life
The anti-Vax movement for German children
Mr. Kretschmer, a member of the center-right Christian Democrats, who ruled nationally until last week, was initially hostile to the strict Covid restrictions.

But since Saxony became one of the federal states hardest hit by the corona virus, he has changed his mind.

At 61.9%, Saxony has the lowest vaccination rate in Germany and the second highest infection rate. Only the neighboring Thuringia has a higher fall rate.

This week, Mr Kretschmer spoke of a race against time for vaccination.

Last week, Germany’s new government passed a bill that would allow all health workers and soldiers to be vaccinated by next spring, and Chancellor Scholz spoke out in favor of mandatory vaccines for all adults in early 2022.

In Germany there have been several protests against tightened restrictions. On Monday night, around 3,500 people demonstrated in Magdeburg and shouted “Peace, freedom, no dictatorship”.

In his maiden speech as Federal Chancellor, Mr. Scholz condemned a “small, hateful minority who attack us all with torch-lit marches, violence and calls for murder”, and added that German society was not divided.

The Telegram app has come under fire in Germany and is blamed for harboring Covid conspiracy theorists who are spreading and planning protests against stricter measures.

On Tuesday, a high-ranking official from the northern German state of Lower Saxony said the messaging app should be removed from Apple and Google stores if it refuses to help against extremist content.

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