Berlin protestors throw cake and go topless at Volkswagen meeting

AFP - [email protected]
Berlin protestors throw cake and go topless at Volkswagen meeting
An activist is escorted away as she demonstrates against Volkswagen's ongoing production of cars with combustion engines using fossil fuels during the annual general meeting. Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

Activists hurled cake at Volkswagen bosses on Wednesday, as the German carmaker's annual shareholders' meeting was disrupted by protests over human rights and climate change.


Outside the hall where the event was taking place in Berlin, climate protesters gathered to put pressure on Europe's largest car manufacturer to reduce its carbon footprint.

"The science is clear: the emissions from Volkswagen's planned car sales are beyond planetary limits," was the message held up by activists from the group Scientist Rebellion.

Inside, the meeting itself was interrupted when cake was aimed at Wolfgang Porsche, who sits on Volkswagen's supervisory board and celebrated his 80th birthday Wednesday.

A topless woman also interrupted the speech given by Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume to criticise the group's operations in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.

Activists accuse Volkswagen of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in the region, where the group has a factory with Chinese partner company SAIC.

China's Communist Party is accused of detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region as part of a years-long crackdown, as well as running labour camps.

China vehemently denies the abuse allegations, while Volkswagen has also rejected suggestions forced labour is used in its factories.

READ ALSO: 'Last resort': Berlin activists go on hunger strike for climate


"A constructive dialogue is important. And a general meeting offers a good opportunity for this," the company said in response to the protests.

Among shareholders, some lamented Volkswagen's poor stock market performance despite record profit margins and the drop in sales in China, a key market for the group, where it is facing increasingly stiff competition from local car manufacturers.


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