Protesters attempt to storm a Tesla factory in Germany

Protesters attempt to storm a Tesla factory in Germany

As many as 800 activists gathered outside Tesla’s factory near Berlin on Friday to protest its expansion plans, and some of them clashed with police as they tried to break into the factory.

“There are currently 800 activists at the Tesla Gigafactory site as part of the Disrupt Tesla Action Days,” Disrupt, the self-proclaimed anti-capitalist coalition organizing the protest, said in a statement on its website.

Police officials said in a press release on Friday that, “people from the previous protest march ran through the forest towards the premises of the Tesla company. Since they were in the area near the Deutsche Bahn railway at the time and partially entered it, the train traffic between Erkner and Fürstenwalde had to be stopped for the time being.”

Police also said they had prevented the group from entering the Tesla premises.

Ole Becker, a spokesperson for Disrupt, told CNN: “It’s a good day for activists. We see a lot of police violence unfortunately,” he added. “I saw a lot of people injured… I saw things today that I haven’t seen in years.”

Neither Tesla ( TSLA ) nor police in the German state of Brandenburg, where the plant is located, responded to CNN’s request for comment.

But Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in a post on X Friday: “The protesters did not make it through the fence line. There are still two intact fence lines around (the factory).”

Disrupt argued that Musk’s plan to more than double the production capacity of Tesla’s only factory in Europe would damage the local environment.

The group said the expansion would require the clearing of surrounding forest areas and would further strain local water supplies. It has planned four days of protests, which began Wednesday.

Tesla closed the factory on Friday to all workers in anticipation of crowds gathering outside in protest of the planned expansion.

Friday’s shutdown of the factory’s production line was announced in January, CNN affiliate RTL reported earlier this week, citing a Tesla spokesperson. But with the protests “in mind,” the electric vehicle maker has decided that all other workers at the factory should also stay at home, RTL said.

In early March, Tesla was also forced to shut down the plant, that time for a week, after the high-voltage electricity pylons that transmit power to the factory caught fire. A group of left-wing activists claimed responsibility for the arson attack.

Police in Brandenburg said on Wednesday that they were preparing for a “wide-ranging” operation, noting that they would be supported by the federal police and several other state police forces.

“Disruptive protests and criminal acts typical of this type of gathering cannot be ruled out,” they said in a statement. “Therefore, the police are prepared for both peaceful and non-peaceful outcomes. If a crime is committed, the police will intervene firmly.”

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