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Activists throw cake amid protest at Volkswagen meeting

May 11, 2023

The climate change and human rights activists targeted Volkswagen executives at the German carmaker's AGM. One topless woman interrupted CEO Oliver Blume's speech with the words "Dirty Money" painted on her back.

Activists escorted out of VWs annual general meeeting by security staff
VW's shareholder meeting was disrupted by activists who protested the German automaker’s factory presence in Xinjiang, ChinaImage: Britta Pedersen/dpa/picture alliance

Activists disrupted German carmaker Volkswagen's annual shareholder meeting in Berlin on Wednesday.

Inside the meeting hall, about ten activists, including one topless woman with "Dirty Money" painted on her back, interrupted CEO Oliver Blume's speech. They were rapidly escorted out by security staff.

Cake was also thrown in the direction of board member Wolfgang Porsche during chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch's address.

Police also stopped an attempt by climate protesters to glue themselves to the ground on the square outside the meeting.

Anger over China and climate

Activists disrupted proceedings inside the hall in protest against VW's factory in China's Xinjiang province.

They accused the carmaker of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in the region.

Volkswagen has said that it has found no evidence of human rights violations at the plant in Xinjiang that it runs with partner company SAIC.

Climate protests outside Volkswagen's annual general meeting
Climate protesters say emissions from new VWs will harm the planetImage: Britta Pedersen/dpa/picture alliance

Outside, climate protesters demanded Europe's largest car manufacturer 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 Scientist Rebellion.

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

lo/jsi (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)