Germany’s Identitarian Movement suffered a defeat before the Cologne Administrative Court, with the court ruling that Germany’s’ domestic intelligence service can continue monitoring the group.
The powerful Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is tasked with monitoring threats to the country’s constitution and democracy, has already monitored the group since 2019 after the agency classified it as “right-wing extremist.” However, after the ruling, the intelligence agency will be able to monitor members, including reading their emails and listening to their phone calls, without a warrant.
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The ruling comes after a lawsuit from the political group, with lawyers arguing that its members are non-violent and the purpose of the movement was based on “the preservation and promotion of the identity of the German people as an independent one among the identities of the other peoples of the world.” However, the court rejected this argument.
Germany’s identitarians also argued to the court that they do not deserve an extremist designation by stating that the “ethnocultural identity” the group promotes does not contradict the free-democratic basic order. The group said it does not aim to treat German citizens unequally based on ethnic aspects, but to promote the “preservation of the current ethnocultural identity” of the German people.
The Cologne Administrative Court countered this representation with the accusation that the identitarians were concerned with “preserving the ethnic German people and excluding ethnic foreigners.” The court argues that this is incompatible with the concepts in the Basic Law since it is based solely on nationality. The movement expresses “hostility towards foreigners and Islam” with slogans such as “remigration,” “stop population exchange,” and “Reconquista.”
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While the surveillance regime facing the small group, which has about 600 members, is extreme, other identitarian movements have faced even greater oppression in other countries. For example, France’s Generation Identity was completely banned after a number of successful political actions were conducted by the group, with one such action highlighting the lack of border security in the country.
The German Identitarian movement has also been involved in a number of actions over the years, including chartering a ship in 2017 to deter refugees from entering Europe in the Mediterranean. One of the key leaders of the movement, Martin Sellner, conducted a political protest in August by occupying the Nord Stream 2 terminal in order to urge a reopening of the gas pipeline in Germany. The group argues that sanctions on Russia harm Germans and Europeans more than they are hurting Russia and that the citizens of the country will only suffer more without Russian energy.