The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) announced on Wednesday that the new surveillance would focus on some members of the lateral thinkers group.
The movement has fueled skepticism about coronavirus and vaccines, as well as other conspiracy theories, and has been involved in violent protests against the lockdown.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the lateral thinker movement had shown that it was ready to use force and that the authorities must protect the rule of law in the country.
“Right-wing extremists are trying to take control [of these events] – and what we cannot tolerate at all is violence, “said Seehofer at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday. He emphasized that people have the right to express their opinion, but that there is” zero tolerance “for extremism.
Members of the movement – whose name means “thinking outside the box” or “thinking outside the box” – have been protesting lockdown measures since the pandemic began.
Several German states have announced similar steps against the movement in the past. In December last year, the Baden-Württemberg Office for the Protection of the Constitution announced that it was monitoring the movement of lateral thinkers.
At the time, the office said the movement was deliberately mixing “extremism, ideological conspiracy and anti-Semitism” with legitimate criticism of government measures to contain the pandemic.
During the anti-lockdown protests, members of the lateral thinker movement often clashed with the police and attacked media representatives.
The decision of the BfV is made at the time when further restrictions come into force. Germany is fighting to contain the latest wave of the pandemic. The government introduced new “emergency braking” rules for areas with high Covid-19 infection rates on Saturday. In doing so, a new law was applied giving the national government the power to lock states for the first time, ending the state-to-state patchwork of measurements.
Germany reported 24,736 new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national agency for disease prevention and controls. According to RKI data, the death toll in Germany has risen by 264, which corresponds to a total of 82,544.
Nadine Schmidt reported from Berlin. Ivana Kottasová reported and wrote from London.