Grünheide: Protest march to the Tesla factory: occasional clashes

Grünheide: Protest march to the Tesla factory: occasional clashes

After chaotic scenes on Friday at anti-Tesla protests in Grünheide, things continued on Saturday. This time, according to police, the protests are much more peaceful. But things don’t stay completely calm.

According to police reports, there were occasional clashes between participants and emergency services during a demonstration to the Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin. Pyrotechnics were also ignited, the police said on Saturday. However, the elevator ran largely without any major disruptions until the evening.

One person had been taken into custody by 7 p.m., it said. Four reports were filed, including for violations of the Assembly Act. A police spokesman said a police officer was slightly injured. He could not provide any information about possible injured protest participants. In the evening the situation was initially relaxed. But you are watching what is happening at the camps.

According to police, more than 1,000 environmental activists protested against Tesla with the demonstration. From around 2.30 p.m. on Saturday they moved from Fangschleuse train station towards company boss Elon Musk’s only European car factory.

There was previously a confrontation between individual protest participants and the police when around 500 activists marched towards the starting point of the demonstration, as the police announced. Emergency services accompanied this train. In the course of the confrontation, the officers used “simple physical violence”.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) hopes to expand Tesla’s production. Brandenburg has a huge boom and great economic growth, said Scholz on Saturday during a panel discussion with the Editorial Network Germany (RND), also with a view to the Tesla factory. “It’s controversial, as we see, but I hope it will double its production even further.”

Warning of dangers to the environment

Several organizations had called for the protests. With the demonstration against Tesla they want to warn of dangers to the environment, but they also criticize other car manufacturers. At the protest, some shouted: “Down with the shares, up with the water protection!” The mood was tense after clashes broke out between protesters and police on Friday.

“This system doesn’t care whether it’s Tesla, VW or Mercedes – car companies and their political supporters are responsible for selling off our livelihoods,” said Lucia Mende, spokeswoman for the organization Disrupt Tesla, before the demonstration. “We have to prevent that and we will prevent that.”

The citizens’ initiative Grünheide accused Tesla and the Brandenburg state government of not paying enough attention to the interests of the people in the region. “You go through with it, you don’t listen to the sensitivities of the local people,” said spokesman Steffen Schorcht. “It only serves Tesla’s interests.” He showed understanding for the protests. “If you fight and keep running into the wall and don’t know what else you can do, sometimes the only option is civil disobedience.”

Tesla music boss appears irritated

The “Turn off the tap from Tesla” alliance sees threats to groundwater. “Tesla’s luxury cars pollute and consume scarce drinking water worldwide,” said spokeswoman Karolina Drzewo. She criticized the fact that an expansion of the plant, including forest clearing, was still planned, even though the majority of citizens voted against it in a survey in Grünheide. The alliance calls for a move away from “inefficient and climate-damaging individual transport”.

Tesla boss Elon Musk was irritated. “Something very strange is happening because Tesla was the only car company to be attacked!” he wrote on the portal X. He surrounded the word “only” with asterisks. Tesla has been producing electric cars in Grünheide since 2022. The company has always denied allegations of water pollution, saying water consumption has declined and is below the industry average.

According to officials, the Freienbrink junction on Autobahn 10 was closed in both directions. According to the police, a demonstration that was registered on the bridge at the junction was banned, among other things because it could have distracted drivers on the motorway. Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) made it clear during a police visit: “It is also clear that any form of violence will not be tolerated,” as his ministry wrote to X.

Tumults around the Tesla factory the day before

On Friday there was turmoil on the edge of the Tesla factory site. Several activists tried to enter the area, but the police stopped them. Protest participants and officials clashed. The police used pepper spray and batons. According to the police, several participants and 21 emergency services were injured and 16 people were initially taken into custody. Tesla did not produce on Friday – but according to a spokeswoman, that had to do with the bridge day after the Ascension Day holiday.

The car factory is the only one owned by company boss Elon Musk in Europe. The actions of several groups, which have been going on since Wednesday, are expected to continue until Sunday. They are also directed against the planned expansion of Tesla with a freight station, for which forests are to be cleared, as well as against the production of electric cars in general. In a citizen survey in Grünheide, a majority voted against the expansion, after which the community and Tesla signaled that less forest should be cleared.

The US car manufacturer had to stop production at its factory in Grünheide for a few days after an arson attack on a power pole in March. A left-wing extremist group claimed responsibility for the crime. Since the end of February, climate activists have been protesting in a camp with tree houses near the car factory against the planned expansion and the clearing of forest. The police want to ensure that the tree houses are dismantled. A legal dispute is currently ongoing.

Source: Stern

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