Elon Musk has reopened the Tesla car factory in Fremont in defiance of a local covid-19 lockdown order.
Musk said he was prepared to be arrested for his actions after critics called him callous and even racist.
“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” the CEO tweeted. “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
RT reports: Having complained over the weekend about being the only carmaker in the US still shuttered by the Covid-19 lockdown, Musk announced on Monday that Tesla is restarting production “against Alameda County rules.”
The state has approved the factory to reopen, he explained, but an “unelected county official illegally overrode” that decision.
Speaking at a press conference in Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom said he expected the Tesla plant to reopen next week, and that he will speak with both local officials in Alameda County and Tesla management about the situation.
While Newsom did not say whose side in the dispute he would take, Musk quickly tweeted “Thank you governor” when a video of Newsom’s remarks was posted online.
Monday’s reopening is the latest move in the ongoing drama between Musk and California. Tesla sued the county on Sunday, asking for an injunction against the local officials, saying in a tweet that they were acting “contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms and just plain common sense!”
Tesla’s facility in the neighboring San Joaquin County was open and working normally, the company’s lawyers said.
The South African-born businessman has raged for days over the fact that Tesla – the only US manufacturer of exclusively electric cars – was forced to stay shut while other carmakers were allowed to operate. He also threatened to move his business elsewhere if California continued to obstruct Tesla’s operations.