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Clashes as protesters try to force entry into German Tesla plant

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Clashes as protesters try to force entry into German Tesla plant
A banner reading "Welcome to the Utopian Gifa factory" hangs between trees where activists occupy tree huts n Gruenheide protesting against the plans of US electric carmaker Tesla. Photo: John MACDOUGALL/AFP.

German police on Friday drove back several groups of environmental activists who tried to enter Tesla's factory outside of Berlin, a spokesman said.

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The spokesman said there were injuries among protesters and police but could not provide figures.

Activists have been protesting plans to expand the factory, which opened in 2022 following an arduous two-year approval and construction process dogged by administrative and legal obstacles.

Protests have increased since February. The plant was forced to halt production in March by a suspected arson attack on nearby power lines claimed by a far-left group.

READ ALSO: Why is Tesla's expansion near Berlin so controversial?

Tesla wants to expand the site by 170 hectares (420 acres) and boost production by up to one million vehicles annually to feed Europe's growing demand for electric cars and take on rivals who are shifting away from combustion engine vehicles.

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But the site in Gruenheide, southeast of the German capital, is near a protected forest and there are concerns about water use.

Local residents voted against the project in a non-binding ballot in February.

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