Protesters attempt to storm Germany’s Tesla factory

Protesters attempt to storm Germany’s Tesla factory

May 11, 2024   03:53 pm

Hundreds of climate protesters have clashed with police in Germany after attempting to storm the Tesla factory near Berlin.

Several people were injured, including three police officers, during Friday’s demonstration against the proposed expansion of the electric car giant’s only European plant.

Police made several arrests and prevented activists from gaining access to the facility.

Campaigners have been camped out in woods in Grünheide, in the state of Brandenburg, since February, claiming Tesla’s plans to double the size of its factory would damage the environment.

Demonstrators on Friday blocked a nearby motorway and interrupted the railway service by sitting on the tracks, police said.

There was also a sit-in on a country road near the factory.

Footage on social media shows hundreds of people, many donning blue caps and holding blue flags, running towards the site attempting to gain access.

One video, verified by the BBC, shows protesters breaking through the police cordon and entering the grounds of the factory, which is located around 30km (18 miles) from the capital.

They can be seen heading towards an outlying building at the northeast corner of the Gigafactory grounds.

Police confirmed that protesters who tried to enter the facility were prevented from doing so, with several people taken into custody.

Tesla said earlier this week that the site would be closed for the day due to the demonstration, with employees reportedly allowed to work from home.

In a post on his social media platform X, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said the group did not manage to break into the facility.

“Why do the police let the left-wing protesters off so easily?” Musk wrote in another post.

The Disrupt Tesla group had been calling for mass protests against the expansion to take place between 8 and 12 May.

Speaking to Reuters news agency on Friday, Ole Becker, a spokesman for Disrupt Tesla, said the protesters aimed to draw attention to the “environmental destruction” in Grünheide.

Some activists have occupied part of the forest expected to be cleared for the expanded factory for months, building tree houses and erecting signs in opposition.

Known as the Gigafactory, the facility currently employs an estimated 12,000 people and makes around 500,000 cars a year.

Production had to be briefly halted in March after a power outage was triggered by a suspected arson attack.

The far-left activist group known as Volcano Group claimed responsibility.

Source: BBC
--Agencies

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