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Berlin Apple Store vandalized by Congo activists

Berlin Apple Store vandalized (Source:

Protesting the alleged exploitation of the Congo by tech firms including Apple, activists have spray-painted Berlin's Apple Rosenthaler Strasse store.

Apple has been accused of its supply chain using what are called conflict materials, linked to militia groups in the Congo. Apple maintains that it has stopped using tin, tungsten, and tantalum mined in the region, and it has dropped suppliers who did.

Nonetheless, activists from Fridays For Future (FFF) have vandalized one of Apple's two stores in Berlin, specifically to draw attention to the company's alleged practices. According to German newspaper Tagesspiegel, the store was smeared with red paint as part of the Day of Action Against Exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"More than 60 percent of the cobalt for Apple or Tesla technology comes from the Congo and means that children at the age of seven have to start working in the mines," Dorcas Mugo from FFF said (in translation) in a statement seen by the newspaper. "Residents would be expelled and expropriated from their lands."

"While Apple and Co are making profits," continued the statement, "70 percent of Congolese live in extreme poverty and are facing starvation."

This protest follows the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) writing to Apple asking to prove that it is not using conflict materials in its devices. That's despite Apple having most recently ceased working with 12 suppliers for having reportedly flouted its Supplier Code of Conduct regarding the issue.

"Since 2009, Apple has directed the removal of 163 3TG smelters and refiners from its supply chain (a total of 9 tantalum, 50 tin, 19 tungsten, and 85 gold smelters and refiners)," Apple told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2022. "In 2021, we removed 12 smelters and refiners from our supply chain, including those that were not willing to participate in or complete a third party audit, or that did not otherwise meet our requirements for the responsible sourcing of minerals."

"The world's eyes are wide shut," wrote lawyer Robert Amsterdam on behalf of the DRC in April. "Rwanda's production of key 3T minerals is near zero, and yet big tech companies say their minerals are sourced in Rwanda."

Following today's vandalizing of Apple Rosenthaler Strasse, the FFF is reportedly also planning to make a speech in front of the Apple Store at 5pm local time (11am Eastern). As yet, Apple Kurfurstendamm, the company's other store in Berlin does not appear to have been targeted.