In an investigation of hate posts against politicians connected to last year’s national election, German authorities carried out raids across the country on Tuesday.

DW reported that raids took place in Berlin, Thuringia, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Bremen, Hessen, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, said the police.

According to the Frankfurt prosecutor's office and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the raids resulted from an analysis of more than 600 social media posts for criminal content. They said that more than 100 suspects were questioned in 13 German states.

According to the Associated Press, the probe was based on legislation that was introduced in 2021. It was to provide for tough punishment of slander and abuse of people “in political life,” whether at local, regional or federal level. It provides for a punishment of up to three years in jail for abuse motivated by the person’s position in public life that is liable to “significantly complicate their public work.”

The targets of the hate posts that resulted in the raids were not named by prosecutors. They said that the probe covered posts against politicians from all the parties currently in Germany’s national parliament. They shared that about two-thirds of those targeted are women. The posts reportedly included abuse against nationally known politicians, misleading reports and quotes that had been officially documented as false. They were made in connection with federal election last September.

BKA President Holger Münch said that freedom of opinion has its "limits as soon as slander, abuse and threats come into it." He added that anyone posting "hate speech has to reckon with police at their door afterward."

Torsten Kunze, a top prosecutor in Germany’s central Hesse state, said in a statement that Tuesday’s move “makes clear the scale on which office-holders are being insulted, slandered and threatened online."

According to ABC News, there was no immediate information on any arrests made after the raids.

Posting hate speech on social media was “not a trivial offence," said Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann. According to Macau News Agency, he hoped the raids would deter others from posting such content on the digital platform.

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