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Climate Protesters Attempt Break-In at Tesla's German Factory

Climate activists, angered by Tesla's expansion plans for its Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory in Germany
May 13, 2024

Climate activists protested Tesla’s expansion plans for its Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory in Germany, attempting to breach the plant premises, according to local police reports.

On Friday, Brandenburg police stated that "multiple unauthorized individuals" were trying to access the Tesla factory grounds, and they were actively working to prevent this. The situation remained dynamic, with several roadblocks set up in the vicinity due to the ongoing demonstrations.

Since Monday, a camp has been established near the Tesla grounds at its Brandenburg plant, with participation steadily increasing. The protest peaked on Thursday, which was a German bank holiday, according to police sources.

Protest activities were planned for Friday, with one group stationing themselves near the Tesla factory grounds and another initiating a procession from the camp, as confirmed by a Brandenburg police spokesperson to CNBC.

However, disruptions occurred, including attempts to breach the Tesla premises and sit-in blockades on roads, resulting in roadblocks being set up, the spokesperson stated.

Additionally, protesters occupied a nearby airfield in the Neuhardenberg municipality, lighting pyrotechnics and blocking access roads, according to police reports.

Law enforcement intervened, leading to several arrests and instances of the use of force. The police operation received support from neighboring states and national forces, the spokesperson added.

Tesla had reportedly asked its employees to stay home on Friday due to concerns over the protests surrounding its Brandenburg plant. André Thierig, a senior manufacturing director at the Tesla factory, confirmed via X on Tuesday that the electric car maker was halting production for the day as part of a planned shutdown.

Tesla is expanding its battery and car assembly factory in Brandenburg, Germany, around 32 miles south of Berlin. The expansion plans include a rail freight depot and storage facilities to reduce reliance on other logistics providers and to prevent production pauses due to parts shortages.

Despite local opposition, Tesla and local officials are pushing forward with the expansion. In February, locals voted against authorizing the factory expansion, but the vote was nonbinding.

Climate activists have expressed concerns about Tesla’s plans, which involve clearing approximately 250 acres of forest in a rural community with fewer than 8,000 residents, near a nature conservation area.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has previously criticized protesters targeting Tesla’s German Gigafactory, stating on X in March that they are "either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they’re puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals."

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