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Tesla stops production in Germany after alleged arson attack| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Tesla was forced to halt production at its assembly plant outside Berlin early Tuesday after someone set fire to a nearby pylon, causing a fire that cut power to the factory and the surrounding region. , the police said.

Brandenburg police said they responded to a fire at a high-voltage power tower in a field near the Tesla plant. The building was not damaged by the fire, but it caused a power outage at the plant and throughout the region, where about 60,000 people live.

Tesla did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokeswoman for the American automaker confirmed to German media that production had stopped and all employees had been evacuated. According to Tesla, about 12,500 people work at the plant, but not all of them would have been present at the time the power was cut.

By early afternoon, residents reported that power had been restored in some areas.

Authorities said investigators from the Brandenburg state Criminal Investigation Office had launched an investigation, but urged against speculation about who might be behind the fire, even as social media exploded with accusations blaming environmental activists.

Since last week, several dozen protesters have camped in cabins and platforms built into tree branches in a wooded area adjacent to the plant that Tesla would like to demolish to build a railway yard, warehouses and educational facilities.

Last month, 65 percent of eligible voters in Grünheide, the community surrounding the factory, voted against Tesla's expansion plans. The vote was non-binding, but local officials said they would honor it by going back to the drawing board to try to find an acceptable solution.

Environmental protesters have said they fear that state and local governments, which worked to attract Tesla to the site in 2022 and celebrated the economic benefits it has brought to the region, will override citizens' wishes.

Brandenburg's top security official, Interior Minister Michael Stübgen, condemned the alleged fire. “If the initial conclusions are confirmed, this is a perfidious attack on our electrical infrastructure,” said Stübgen. “This will have consequences.”

Tesla's Grünheide assembly plant is the only one the company has in Europe. It has the capacity to manufacture about 500,000 cars a year, but the company would like to double that figure, to 1 million cars a year, more than the 800,000 produced by Volkswagen at its former Wolfsburg plant.

A major Berlin newspaper, Tagesspiegel, said that a group calling itself “Vulkangruppe” and identifying itself as linked to the anti-fascist movement, had sent a letter to its newsroom claiming responsibility for the attack.

“Turn off Tesla,” the letter said, depending on the role. A group of far-left extremists operating under the same name claimed responsibility for an attack in 2021 that knocked out power at the Tesla factory construction site. That same year, Brandenburg state security officials mentioned in their annual report that the group had carried out several arson attacks in greater Berlin.

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