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Tesla Faces Protests Over Expansion of Factory in Germany

Sat 11 May 2024 | 09:28 PM
Israa Farhan

Tesla is facing mounting protests at its factory in Germany, where activists are attempting to halt the expansion of the electric car company's facilities, which may require the removal of part of a surrounding forest.

The Brandenburg state police stated that protests are expected to continue over the weekend, following the arrest of at least 16 individuals on Friday, amid riots that included storming an airport, damaging new Tesla cars, and blocking a government road near the factory.

Several people, including 21 police officers, were injured during these events, according to a statement from the state police.

Tesla's factory outside Berlin in the town of Gruenheide has long faced opposition from angry local residents and environmental groups.

The opening of the factory was first announced in late 2019, but its inauguration was delayed for several months due to legal challenges from concerned groups about the site's massive water consumption and threats to local wildlife.

Activists have been camping in the forest near the factory since February to protest the potential expansion.

The car manufacturing company had to halt production at the factory in March and send workers home after an intentional fire at a nearby power tower caused a power outage across the area.

Jorg Steinbach, the Minister of Economy, Energy, and Labor in Brandenburg state, called Friday's events "unacceptable."

The facility, which produces the Model Y – the best-selling passenger car in Europe last year – employs around 12,000 people.

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the protests.