Hundreds of Anti-Tesla Protesters Storm Gigafactory in Germany

Hundreds of Anti-Tesla Protesters Storm Gigafactory in Germany

Hundreds of climate protesters upset with the environmental impact of Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Grünheide, Germany broke through a police line and stormed Europe’s lone Gigafactory on Friday, according to several reports on social media. The protesters were stopped at a fence and failed to get inside the plant, though local German news outlet DW reports people were arrested. It’s not yet clear how many.

Protesters first opposed the Tesla plant just outside Berlin over the clearing of forests when it was first built back in 2020. Protests were renewed earlier this year when Tesla applied to clear 170 more acres to expand.

“We are here today to draw attention to the Tesla factory in Grünheide for the environmental destruction here in Grünheide,” Ole Becker, a spokesperson for Disrupt Tesla, said on Friday according to DW.

“But also for the environmental destruction in countries like Argentina or Bolivia, where lithium is mined that is needed for these batteries and that causes terrible environmental destruction for the people there, but also for the environment,” Becker continued.

Protest organizers said there were 800 people present on Friday, though it’s not clear how many actually stormed the building because there was more than one protest site.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tried to minimize the protest on Friday, calling reports “fake news,” though it’s not entirely clear what he was calling fake.

“This is fake news. Protesters did not manage to break through the fenceline,” Musk said on X, though nobody had claimed a fence was broken.

“There are still 2 intact fence lines all around. Note, this is ‘National Protest Week’ in Germany, so there are a lot of protests for many different reasons,” he continued.

An anarchist group called Volcano Group took credit for cutting power to the German Tesla plant back in March. But it’s not clear whether Friday’s protests accomplished anything quite so tangible.

Video posted to X by an account called The Brake appears to show hundreds of people, many of them dressed in black, running toward the factory. Photos from the Associated Press show signs that read “Stop Tesla, Water is Life” and “End Neocolonialism.”

But the most colorful banner, which is available in the slideshow, reads “Elon du Lachs verpiss dich zum Mars!” which apparently means something close to “Elon, you salmon, fuck off to Mars!” Either that or “Elon, you dick…” We don’t speak German, but crowdsourcing a translation on Bluesky yielded a surprising variety of answers and explanations.

Click through the slideshow for more photos from today’s protests in Germany.

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