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  • 24 May, 2024

Protesters make an effort to breach Germany's Tesla factory.

Protesters make an effort to breach Germany's Tesla factory.

Protesters attempt to breach Germany's Tesla plant.

Hundreds of climate protesters clashed with police in Germany following their attempt to breach the Tesla factory near Berlin. Several individuals, including three police officers, sustained injuries during Friday's demonstration opposing the proposed expansion of the electric car giant's sole European plant. Police conducted multiple arrests and thwarted activists' efforts to enter the facility. Since February, campaigners have occupied the woods in Grünheide, Brandenburg, contending that Tesla's expansion plans would harm the environment. Demonstrators on Friday obstructed a nearby motorway and disrupted railway services by occupying the tracks. Additionally, they staged a sit-in on a country road adjacent to the factory. Videos circulating on social media depict hundreds of individuals, many adorned in blue caps and waving blue flags, rushing toward the site in an attempt to gain entry. One verified video captured protesters breaching the police barricade and accessing the factory grounds, located approximately 30km (18 miles) from the capital. They proceeded towards a peripheral building at the northeast corner of the Gigafactory premises.

Police verified that protesters attempting to access the facility were stopped, with several individuals detained. Earlier this week, Tesla announced the closure of the site for the day due to the demonstration, allowing employees to work remotely. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, confirmed on his social media platform X that the group failed to breach the facility. Musk questioned the leniency shown towards left-wing protesters in another post. The Disrupt Tesla group had scheduled mass protests against the expansion from May 8th to 12th. Ole Becker, a spokesperson for Disrupt Tesla, informed Reuters on Friday that the protesters sought to highlight the "environmental destruction" in Grünheide. Some activists have occupied a section of the forest slated for clearance for months, constructing treehouses and installing signs in opposition. Referred to as the Gigafactory, the facility currently employs an estimated 12,000 workers and produces around 500,000 cars annually. Production briefly ceased in March following a power outage caused by a suspected arson attack, claimed by the far-left activist group Volcano Group.