Climate Protestors Storm Tesla’s Gigafactory in Europe


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

Footage on social media showed crowds of black-clad protesters on Tesla premises and running towards one of the site’s buildings.

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

“Several people are trying to gain unauthorized access to the Tesla factory premises,” the local police said on X, at around midday local time. “We are working to prevent this.”

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

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

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

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

As of February, the factory was producing 6,000 cars a week. But production was halted on Friday in anticipation of the protest. The factory’s manager, André Thierig, confirmed earlier in the week there would be a “one day planned shutdown”.

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

Those expansion plans have been opposed by an alliance of locals and climate activists. Since February, protesters have been living in a forest encampment footsteps away from the factory’s perimeter fence.

Earlier on Friday, police said that the local train station, Fangschleuse, was closed as people sat on the tracks. It has since been reopened.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.