1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Tesla plant protesters to spend week in forest

March 1, 2024

Treehouses and a piano concert in the woods: Activists protesting against a Tesla factory expansion near Berlin said they intend to stay in a forest for a week. The police keep a low profile.

Environmental activists in Grünheide
Protesters built about a dozen treehouses in the forestImage: Patrick Pleul/dpa/picture alliance

Environmental activists protesting the expansion of US electric carmaker Tesla's factory outside Berlin said they plan to occupy the forest near the factory for a week. 

"The longer the occupation lasts, the better," a spokeswoman for the "Stop Tesla" initiative said Friday.

The occupation of the wooded area in Grünheide, near Berlin, began late on Wednesday night. The protesters have built around a dozen treehouses several meters above the ground.

On Friday morning, in addition to the 50 to 70 activists from the "Stop Tesla" initiative and the "Robin Wood" group, only two police officers were visible, according to regional public broadcaster rbb. 

The initiative urged other supporters to visit the camp and bring additional materials like wood, saws, climbing gear and hammocks. A walk through the forest in protest of Tesla and a piano concert in the forest are also planned for Saturday afternoon, activists said.

Environmental activists in Grünheide with a large sign that reads "Water is a human right"
Protesters criticized the Telsa plant's high water consumptionImage: Patrick Pleul/dpa/picture alliance

What do protesters want?

The protesters said their goal is to prevent the clearing of the forest for a Tesla expansion project. The electric car maker wants to build a freight station, warehouses and a company kindergarten next to the existing 300-hectare factory site. More than 100 hectares of forest would have to be cleared. 

In February, a majority of Grünheide residents voted against the current expansion plans in a nonbinding poll. Tesla then announced further talks on the issue.

"We are open to dialogue, but we will not be forced out of the forest," said a spokesman for the protest group, which is supported by a local citizens' initiative.

Police tolerate protests

Police said they see no reason to dismantle the camp in the forest, adding that they are monitoring events there. The protest in the pine forest can continue until March 15, according to a police decision.

An extension is possible and the police are also preparing for long-term protests, a police spokesperson told rbb on Thursday.

Tesla has not yet commented on the protest camp near the factory.

How new Gigafactories are staining Tesla's brand

dh/sms (DPA, AP)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.