Arrests Made During Environmental Protests at Tesla’s German Factory

Tesla’s first European gigafactory has faced its latest round of problems after activist groups launched a protest against a new factory expansion due to environmental concerns.

Tesla Protests

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Last week approximately 800 environmental activists gathered to protest new developments at a Tesla factory near Berlin, Germany, resulting in dozens of arrests.

New Factory Expansion

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Protestors expressed outrage over the expansion of the EV manufacturing plant, which would require clearing out parts of the surrounding forests to accommodate the new developments, and could also have a limiting effect on the local water supply.

Disrupt Tesla Activists

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The ‘anti-capitalist’ protest group Disrupt Tesla argued that the company was causing environmental damage to Grünheide, a small city on the outskirts of Berlin, where the plant is located. 

“Currently 800 Activists”

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“There are currently 800 activists on the Tesla Gigafactory site as part of the Disrupt Tesla Action Days,” the group announced in a statement via its official website on Friday, as protesters descended on the site.

Clashing With Police

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Protestors clashed with local police as they attempted to break into the manufacturing plant, an incident that saw the climax and eventual end to 4 days of continual protests.

76 Criminal Charges Filed

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Between the 12th and 8th of May, 23 activists were arrested in the area. The police also filed 76 criminal charges against different protestors present at the site.  

18 Gatherings

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Those 76 charges were made across 18 different gatherings across the four days. A 19th gathering on a highway overpass nearby was banned before it could take place due to public safety concerns. 

Storming the Factory

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In a public statement from the police department of the State of Brandenburg, where Grünheide is located, they described how “people from the previous protest march ran through the forest towards the Tesla company premises.” 

Public Statement from Police

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“As they were in the immediate vicinity of the Deutsche Bahn railroad tracks at the time and partially entered them, rail traffic between Erkner and Fürstenwalde had to be temporarily stopped,” the statement added.

Allegations of Violence and Police Brutality

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A spokesperson for Disrupt, Olde Becker, described scenes of violence and police brutality against the protestors. “We saw a lot of police violence, unfortunately,” he told reporters. “I saw a lot of injured people… I have seen things today which I haven’t seen for many years.”

Community Backlash

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The protest was just the latest in a series of community backlash toward the Tesla plant, which first opened in the region in March 2022. 

Local Vote Thwarted

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Things began to heat up even further in February when the town held a local vote to move against the EV giant’s plan to extend the local factory. Local protestors then built encampments around the factory when the vote was ignored.

Suspected Arson Attack

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The German town made international headlines again just a month later in March, when a suspected arson attack left the factory without power, causing factory production to be shut down for over a week. 

Second Protest Group

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Another protest group named Volcano Group, which is separate from Disrupt Tesla, later took responsibility for the attack in a public statement. 

Musk Hits Back

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While Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to social media to describe the incident as “extremely dumb,” he was more reticent about condemning the protests this week.

Asking Questions

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Instead, he took to X to ask his followers, “Why do the police let the leftwing protestors off so easily?” after five of the 23 arrested activists were released from custody on Sunday. 

They Didn’t Break Through

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“Protesters did not manage to break through the fence line,” he added in a later post after the story had been updated. “There are still two intact fence lines all around (the factory).”

1500 Police vs 1000 Protestors

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Brandenburg police, as well as several other state police units that assisted them, supplied 1,500 police officers to deal with the almost 1000 protestors present over the weekend. 

“Complicated and Demanding”

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Police President Oliver Stepien called it a “complicated and demanding operation” that resulted in injuries for 27 officers. 

Not Over Yet

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Despite a slate of arrests and the destruction of the protestor’s encampment, it is unlikely that this will be the end of Tesla’s problems in Brandenburg. Protest organizers made it clear to reporters that as long as the expansion plans continue they’ll “be back.”

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The postArrests Made During Environmental Protests at Tesla’s German Factory first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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