Protesters attempt to storm Tesla’s factory in Germany | CNN Business

Protesters attempt to storm Tesla’s factory in Germany | CNN Business


London
CNN
 — 

As many as 800 activists gathered outside Tesla’s factory near Berlin Friday to protest its expansion plans, and some of them clashed with police as they attempted to break into the plant.

“There are currently 800 activists on the Tesla Gigafactory site as part of the Disrupt Tesla Action Days,” Disrupt, a coalition of self-declared anti-capitalist groups that organized the protest, said in a statement on its website.

According to Reuters, some of the protesters attempted to storm the factory. At least one protester was detained, Reuters reported.

Ole Becker, a Disrupt spokesperson, told CNN: “It was a good day for activists. We saw a lot of police violence unfortunately,” he added. “I saw a lot of injured people… I have seen things today which I haven’t seen for many years.”

Neither Tesla (TSLA) nor police in the German state of Brandenburg, where the plant is located, have responded to a CNN request for comment.

But Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in a post on X Friday: “Protesters did not manage to break through the fence line. There are still two intact fence lines all around (the factory).”

Disrupt argues that Musk’s plans to more than double the production capacity of Tesla’s only factory in Europe would damage the local environment.

The group says the expansion would require clearing swathes of the surrounding forest and would further strain local water supply. It has planned four days of protests, which started Wednesday.

Tesla shut the factory Friday to all employees in anticipation of crowds gathering outside in protest against the planned expansion.

A stoppage of the plant’s production lines this Friday was announced back in January, CNN affiliate RTL reported earlier this week, quoting a Tesla spokesperson. But with the protests “in mind,” the electric vehicle maker has decided that all other workers at the factory should also stay at home, RTL said.

In early March, Tesla was also forced to close the plant, that time for a week, after a high-voltage electricity pylon delivering power to the factory was set on fire. A group of far-left activists claimed responsibility for the arson attack.

A police officer tries to push back protesters running toward the Tesla factory near Berlin on May 10, 2024.

Police in Brandenburg said Wednesday that they had prepared for “extensive” operations, noting that they would be supported by federal police and several other state police forces.

“Disruptive protests as well as criminal acts typical of this kind of gathering cannot be ruled out,” they said in a statement. “Consequently, the police are prepared for both a peaceful and non-peaceful outcome. If crimes are committed, the police will intervene resolutely.”

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