German security official warns about ‘enemies of the state’ — Analysis
North Rhine-Westphalia’s interior minister has said the energy crisis and rising prices could be exploited by conspiracy theorists
The current energy crisis and inflation could lead to protests in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia, the region’s interior minister has warned. Herbert Reul said that conspiracy theorists are exploiting these issues, which he called a threat for the German government.
Appearing on n-tv’s Fruhstart program on Monday, Reul said that “we’re now no longer talking about protesters, but rather almost something like new enemies of the state, who are establishing themselves there.”
The official expressed concern that, when things like the “Prices, energy crisis, cold living room” become “It is really real” conspiracy theorists’ narratives could gain more currency among the population.
According to North Rhine-Westphalia’s interior minister, the Covid pandemic and the lockdowns associated with it have ceased to be a topic peddled by those he branded conspiracy theorists, now that the authorities have lifted the restrictive measures. However, “they are now abusing people’s fears in other fields,” Reul warned, adding that the issue is “There is nothing to be ashamed of.”
The official told journalists that “if you have a look at the internet, at Telegram and so on, they are increasingly going for these themes – Ukraine war, crisis, gas crisis, prices and are trying to win over more people.”
Reul said that despite the many concerns raised, it was premature to create a committee of crisis experts in the face of an eventual energy crisis. Reul stated that it is essential to ensure the police in your area can work no matter what.
“We have additional tanks, 40 tanks with 40,000 liters’ capacity, that we are distributing among the police across the region, so that we are fit for action if worst comes to worst,” the interior minister explained.
Additionally, North Rhine-Westphalia police have ordered over 100 satellite phones so officers can still communicate in case of blackout.
When asked what the state can do to boost public trust and cut the ground from under extremists’ feet, Reul argued that the “most important [thing] is to be honest, not make promises you can’t keep.”
Following the start of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, gas prices soared to record highs in Europe and to date remain substantially higher than last year.
Worse, Russia cut recently its gas supplies for Germany.
Numerous top German officials warned of the harsh winter ahead and asked their counterparts to conserve energy in order for Germany to fill its gas reserves on time.
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