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Climate protesters storm Tesla gigafactory in Europe

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Climate protesters storm Tesla gigafactory in Europe

Protesters charged at the Tesla factory near Berlin on Friday, as part of a five-day demonstration against the automaker’s local expansion plans.

Images Crowds of protesters dressed in black were shown on social media at the Tesla facility and running towards one of the buildings at the site.

“800 people have entered the gigafactory facilities,” Lucia Mende, spokesperson for the Disrupt Tesla group, told WIRED. She added that the activists were now heading to a disused airfield that German media recently reported Tesla was using it to store thousands of unsold cars. “They want to prevent the expansion of the factory,” Mende said of the protesters.

“Several people are attempting to gain unauthorized access to the Tesla factory facilities,” local police reported. said in X, around noon local time. “We are working to avoid this.”

Mende claimed arrests had been made but did not know how many. Neither police nor Tesla immediately responded to WIRED’s request for comment.

“We, from the forest, have witnessed how protesters broke police lines to reach the factory grounds,” one of the protesters, Mara, spokesperson for a group called Stop Tesla, told WIRED. “We are all united to disrupt Tesla.” Breaking into or occupying industrial sites is a common tactic used by more radical sectors of the climate movement across Europe.

Tesla’s German factory, which produces electric cars and batteries, has been the target of protests by climate activists for months, who call the company’s green credentials a farce.

“Companies like Tesla are there to save the auto industry, not to save the climate,” Esther Kamm, spokesperson for Turn Off the Tap on Tesla (known by its German initials TDHA), told WIRED last week.

In February, the factory was producing 6,000 cars per week. But production was halted on Friday in anticipation of the protest. The factory director, André Thierig, confirmed At the beginning of the week there would be a “planned one-day closure.”

Tesla had expressed plans to expand the site into the nearby forest to produce one million cars a year at the site, which is its only European gigafactory.

These expansion plans have been opposed by an alliance of locals and climate activists. Since February, protesters have been living in a forestry camp just steps from the factory’s perimeter fence.

Earlier on Friday, police said the local train station, Fangschleuse, was closed while people were sitting on the tracks. It has since been reopened.

This is a developing story. Please check the updates.

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