The German government on Wednesday banned Altermedia Deutschland, a far-right Internet platform that it accused of spreading "racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Islamic content," and federal prosecutors said two people were arrested.
The action against Altermedia Deutschland is "a clear sign that the rule of law doesn't allow hate crime," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
The prosecutors' office said that two Germans, identified only as Jutta V. and Ralph Thomas K., in line with German privacy rules, were arrested on suspicion of founding a criminal organization and incitement of violence. Three other suspects were not arrested. Raids were conducted in homes in four German states and the northeastern Spanish town of Lloret de Mar.
The two arrested people were the administrators of the Altermedia website and therefore were responsible for its content, which included banned Nazi slogans, denial of the Holocaust and incitement of violence against foreigners, the prosecutors' office said.
The server is in Russia to prevent German authorities from gaining access to it, the office added. German officials asked Russia to switch it off in the coming days.
German security officials say the far right has become much more savvy in using the Internet and social media to push its message to a broader audience.
The head of Germany's domestic intelligence, Hans-Georg Maassen, told reporters Tuesday that "there is the danger of a gray zone developing between far-right extremists, right-wing conservatives and citizen protesters with significant potential for violence."