Protesters and Police Clash Outside of German Tesla Factory

Protesters and Police Clash Outside of German Tesla Factory

After camping outside Tesla’s German Gigafactory for the past week, environmental protesters stormed the facility this morning. Hundreds of people marched on the factory, overcoming police armed with pepper spray. Protesters are arguing that the Gigafactory should not be allowed to expand over allegations of greenwashing.

Hundreds of climate protesters had pledged to attend the action today, which saw them march on the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin-Brandenburg, reports CNBC News. At the time of the march, Tesla had shuttered the facility after a national holiday on Thursday, calling on workers to remain home on Friday as well.

Since Monday, climate protesters have been camped outside the factory, which produces the Tesla Model Y for sale across Europe. Activists from the Disrupt movement were involved in the action, which is an anti-capitalist campaign calling for an end to greenwashing. Greenwashing is the act of hiding a product’s true environmental impact behind eco-minded credentials. As Business Insider explains:

Disrupt is an “alliance” of self-declared anti-capitalist groups that oppose a plan to double the production capacity of the Grünheide factory.

It argues that Tesla’s expansion plan would require it to clear out local forest areas and could tighten local water supplies.

So far, police in the area have confirmed that “multiple unauthorized people are trying to enter the grounds” on X. A spokesperson for the Brandenburg police told CNBC News that roadblocks were now in place around the factory and described the scene as “dynamic.”

Road blocks are in place around the Tesla factory.

Tesla has so far not commented on the siege at its facility, however boss Elon Musk previously hit out at protesters calling for the factory’s expansion to be blocked. Earlier this year, Musk took to X to describe protesters at the site as “either the dumbest eco-terrorists on Earth or they’re puppets of those who don’t have good environmental goals.”

The American EV maker has been striving to increase output at its German plant for months now. The expansion of the facility would allow it to increase production of its battery packs and complete vehicles. As CNBC explains:

Tesla’s planned expansion includes designs for a rail freight depot and storage facilities that could help it avoid reliance on other logistics providers, and avoid production pauses due to parts shortages.

Tesla was dealt a symbolic setback in February when locals voted against authorizing the factory expansion. However, the vote was nonbinding and Tesla and local officials still intend to push ahead with it.

The move has angered the opposition, who argue that the plans would have a negative impact on the local environment. The plans would reportedly require the demolition of approximately 250 acres of forest very near to a conservation area.

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