Clash between protesters and police as Tesla’s expansion plans in Germany stir controversy

On Friday, there was a clash between climate activists and the police at Tesla’s Brandenburg factory in Germany. The activists were protesting the expansion of the factory, and some of them even tried to storm the factory grounds.

Around 800 activists participated in the Disrupt Tesla Action Days, a movement organized by Disrupt, a coalition of self-proclaimed anti-capitalist groups. The Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory was the site of their protest, as stated in a statement on Disrupt’s website.

The group explained that their demonstration aimed to achieve more than just a temporary halt in production; rather, their goal was to hinder the expansion of the factory and kickstart a transformation in traffic patterns.

According to a release by the Brandenburg police, there were reports of protesters attempting to break into the facility.

The statement mentioned that due to their close proximity to the Deutsche Bahn railroad tracks and partially entering them, the rail traffic between Erkner and Fürstenwalde had to be temporarily halted.

According to authorities, they successfully stopped the group from gaining access to the Tesla premises and apprehended 16 individuals. The incident resulted in injuries to multiple individuals, including 21 law enforcement officers.

According to CNN, Disrupt spokesperson Ole Becker expressed his disappointment over the occurrence of police violence, which he described as unfortunate. He mentioned that this incident overshadowed an otherwise successful day for the activists.

“I witnessed numerous individuals who were injured … Today, I encountered scenes that I haven’t witnessed in many years,” expressed Becker, emphasizing the severity of the situation.

Police reported that activists started setting up camp near the grounds of the Brandenburg plant on Monday. The participation continued to increase and reached its peak on Thursday.

Tesla anticipated the protests and, as a result, decided to shut down the factory on Friday. In a post on Tuesday, André Thierig, a senior manufacturing director, informed that the factory would have a “one-day planned production shutdown.”

Tesla’s expansion plans, which entail clearing approximately 250 acres of forest adjacent to a nature conservation area, have faced opposition from climate protesters.

Tesla’s only European factory is set to benefit from a new plan that includes the construction of a rail freight depot and storage facilities. This strategic move aims to eliminate the factory’s dependence on third-party logistics and mitigate potential production delays caused by parts shortages.

According to activists, the expansion would not only cause disruption in the local water supply.

In February, the residents of the Grünheide municipality in Brandenburg voted against the proposed expansion of the factory. However, despite the non-binding nature of the vote, Tesla and local officials decided to move forward with the project.

“The Gründheiders are witnessing the circumvention of their votes and the deceptive tactics being employed,” stated Lucia Mende, spokesperson for Disrupt. She further added, “Furthermore, it seems that the region is being handed over to a right-wing entrepreneur without proper consideration. Rather than pursuing Elon Musk, politicians should focus on upholding democratic principles by implementing transparent voting procedures and referendums.”

In a previous post on X, Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed his strong disapproval of the protesters opposing his Brandenburg factory. He criticized them as being “either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth” or “puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals.”

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