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As early as January 2020, some people demonstrated against the Tesla factory in Grünheide

Photo: Christian-Ditsch.de / Christian Ditsch / IMAGO

Around 80 activists from the “Stop Tesla” initiative have occupied a forest near the company’s car factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg.

They are protesting against the planned expansion of the plant.

They also want to support the vote of the citizens of Grünheide, who voted against the development plan in a survey, as the initiative announced.

The group built tree houses on the approximately 120 hectare forest that is to be cleared to expand the site.

The environmental activists say they want to occupy the site near the Fangschleuse train station for an indefinite period of time.

“Our main concern is the drinking water protection area,” said activist Caro Weber to the dpa news agency.

The initiative does not trust that politicians will follow the will of the residents, since the existing plant was already built with special permits.

Part of the Tesla site is located in the drinking water protection area.

Tesla also built its factory on the basis of early approvals.

The company's expansion plans for the car factory were largely rejected by the citizens of Grünheide.

Almost two thirds voted against the plans last week.

The vote is not legally binding.

The local council still has to approve a development plan.

The electric car manufacturer wants to build a freight station, warehouses and a company kindergarten in addition to the existing 300-hectare factory site.

To achieve this, more than 100 hectares of forest will be cleared.

Conservationists and citizens' initiatives, among others, are against the expansion.