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Elon Musk stops production: Tesla Gigafactory stormed by hundreds of climate activists

Climate activists storm Tesla Gigafactory Berlin site (image: Instagram @teslastoppen)
Climate activists storm Tesla Gigafactory Berlin site (image: Instagram @teslastoppen)
Climate activists stormed the site of Tesla's Gigafactory in Berlin yesterday morning, forcing a halt to production. Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the protest on X, calling for tougher police action against the demonstrators.

Hundreds of climate activists stormed the grounds of the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin yesterday morning. After taking over the outdoor area, they were stopped by riot police using pepper spray as they tried to enter the building. Numerous protesters and three police officers were injured in the confrontation.

It was the biggest ever attack on Elon Musk's largest EV factory in Europe. The protest came as no surprise, however, as demonstrators have been living in action camps in the forests surrounding the Gigafactory in Grünheide, Brandenburg (18 miles from Berlin), since February to prevent the plant's expansion. Elon Musk, who was forced to halt production for a day and allow employees to work from home on this particular date, commented on the protest on X: "Why do the police let the left-wing protesters off so easily?" 

Points of criticism: Deforestation, potential groundwater pollution and more

Activists fear that doubling the size of the plant could have a serious impact on groundwater and the environment in general, and that around 110 hectares of forest would have to be cleared. Another point of criticism is the allegedly high number of workplace accidents at the Gigafactory.

Ole Becker is the spokesman for the "Disrupt Tesla" alliance, which had called for civil disobedience, and said the demonstration was intended to draw attention to the "environmental destruction" in Grünheide.

Residents of Grünheide welcome the action

Workshops, discussions and preparations for action are to take place on the site in the coming days, and yesterday's demonstration is only an interim step. The activists are not alone in their disapproval - several conservation organisations have complained about a lack of involvement in the plant's development plans. The protesters are also supported by the residents of Grünheide, the majority of whom have spoken out against the development scheme and the expansion of the Tesla factory:

We will continue to try to influence the local representatives so that this development plan does not come to a vote.

-  Manu Hoyer of the Grünheide Citizens' Initiative

Various environmentalists have long been critical of technology companies like Tesla. A common criticism is that the batteries used in electric cars use rare earth metals and raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel, some of which are mined under conditions that are disastrous for nature and people in countries such as the Congo and Latin America. 

In the case of the Gigafactory, however, the issues are the massive deforestation of Grünheide and the potential pollution of groundwater. It is estimated that there are now more than 2,000 protesters around the factory - not including the residents of Grünheide.


BBC | Red.Media | TAZ | image: Instagram @teslastoppen

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 05 > Elon Musk stops production: Tesla Gigafactory stormed by hundreds of climate activists
Nicole Dominikowski, 2024-05-11 (Update: 2024-05-12)