FFF Activists Vandalize Berlin Apple Store Over Alleged Congo Exploitation

Congo Accuses Apple of Obtaining Minerals Illegally; Say Macs, iPhones Stained with Blood of Locals

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently accused Apple of committing heinous crimes, and DRC lawyers further stated that Apple products such as Macs, iPhones, and others are stained with the blood of local people. Now, activists have vandalized the Berlin-based Apple Store on Rosenthaler Strasse, alleging that Apple exploited the Congo.

Activists reportedly affiliated with Fridays For Future (FFF) — a youth-run global movement initiated by environmentalist Greta Thunberg — targeted one of Apple’s two stores in Berlin to grab the company’s attention. German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that the two-and-a-half-year-old Apple Store at Rosenthaler Strasse was splattered with red paint as part of the Day of Action Against Exploitation in the DRC.

FFF demands an end to child and forced labor, worker exploitation, environmental harm, and upholding human rights in the Congo. “More than 60 percent of the cobalt for Apple or Tesla technology comes from the Congo and causes children at the age of seven to start working in the mines,” says Dorcas Mugo from FFF Mombasa. “While Apple and Co. are making profits, 70 percent of Congolese live in extreme poverty and are facing starvation,” they add. 

Notably, Two days before the incident, an account (@BIPoCforCJ) shared the plans to protest around the Apple Store in Berlin, calling people to “bring a sign or banner with Congo reference” along. It included a link to a post explaining why the activists are deciding to take action. “For decades, conflict has ravaged communities, leaving over 6 million people displaced. Meanwhile, the climate crisis threatens to destroy one of the world’s largest carbon sinks,” it read. 

The protest comes after the DRC’s letter to Apple, requesting evidence to substantiate that the company isn’t using conflict materials in its devices. This is despite Apple’s recently ending partnerships with 12 suppliers over misconduct regarding this issue. 

Meanwhile, reports suggest that FFF plans to deliver a speech outside the Apple Store at 5 pm local time. In April, Robert Amsterdam, representing the DRC, had written, “The world’s eyes are wide shut: Rwanda’s production of key 3T minerals is near zero, and yet big tech companies say their minerals are sourced in Rwanda.”


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