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Protest camp in Grünheide, Brandenburg: “We want to stand in the way of destruction”

Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa

Resistance to the flagship project of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla is increasing: around 100 activists have occupied a forest near the factory in Grünheide since Thursday night.

Their goal: to stop the clearing of the approximately 120 hectare area where Tesla wants to build a freight station and storage areas.

Part of the site lies in the water protection area.

As the police have now announced, the occupation of the forest by the environmental activists will not be dissolved.

At the moment there is no reason to prevent the protests from continuing, said police spokesman Roland Kamenz, according to the dpa news agency.

The protests could continue as a multi-day gathering, initially until March 15, with the option of an extension.

This was also coordinated with the community.

Communication with the police was discussed with the leader of the meeting.

The spokesman said that a notice of requirements for the protesters is currently being drawn up by the assembly authority.

This involves, for example, a ban on entering the nearby railway facilities in order to exclude danger.

In the forest next to the Tesla factory, environmental activists have built around eight tree houses, the tallest around eleven meters high.

According to their own statements, they don't want to leave so quickly.

"We want to stand in the way of destruction," says the initiative's spokeswoman, Caro Weber.

According to her, environmental activists from all over Germany are there.

Some of them had already taken part in the protests in the brown coal village of Lützerath and in the Hambacher Forest in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The activists are not alone in their resistance to Tesla's expansion plans: in a resident survey last week, almost two thirds of Grünheide's citizens voted against a development plan.

“Our main concern is the drinking water protection area,” says activist Weber.

The local council is expected to decide on the development plan in May.

The citizens' vote is not legally binding, but is considered an important signal.

The citizens' initiative Grünheide supports the protest on tree houses and called on Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) to visit the activists.