Greta Thunberg and local environmental activists block Norway's energy ministry

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 Greta Thunberg and local environmental activists block Norwegian Energy Ministry

Greta Thunberg with activists of the Nature and Youth movement and Norwegian Samirs Riksforbund Nuorat on Monday blocked the entrances to the Ministry of Energy in Oslo.Environmental activists are protesting against wind turbines built on land traditionally used by indigenous Sami reindeer herders.

Thunberg, who is actively campaigning to end the world's dependence on carbon-based energy, said the transition to green energy cannot come at the expense of indigenous rights.

“Indigenous rights, human rights, must go hand in hand with climate protection and action to combat climate change. It cannot happen at the expense of some people. Then it's not climate justice”, — Thunberg told Reuters as she sat near the entrance to the main ministry building along with other demonstrators.

The Norwegian Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that two wind farms built in central Norway violated the rights of the Saami in accordance with international conventions , but the turbines are still running over 16 months later.

Reindeer herders in the Scandinavian country say the sight and sound of a giant wind farm frightens their animals and breaks age-old traditions.

said Sámi singer, songwriter, actress and activist Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen.

She and a dozen other Sami demonstrators have occupied the ministry's reception area since Thursday. Police forcibly took them away around 01:30 GMT on Monday. After the activists were released, they returned to the ministry, this time settling outside the building, around 0600 GMT.

The Saami protesters donned their traditional costumes inside out in protest.

The ministry said the wind farms' ultimate fate is a complex legal quandary despite the Supreme Court's decision and hopes to find a compromise.

The court's verdict does not say what should happen next to the 151 turbines that could power some 100,000 Norwegian homes, or what should happen to the tens of kilometers (miles) of roads laid to facilitate construction.

” We understand that this case is a burden for reindeer herders. The Ministry will do everything possible to contribute to the resolution of this matter”, — Energy Minister Terje Åsland said in a press statement.

The Roan Vind and Fosen Vind wind farms are owned by Germany's Stadtwerke Muenchen, Norwegian utilities Statkraft and TroenderEnergi, and Swiss firms Energy Infrastructure Partners and BKW.

“We believe that the ministry will find good solutions to allow us to continue producing renewable energy while maintaining the rights of reindeer herders,” — Roan Vind said in a statement.

The BKW utility said it expects the wind turbines to remain in place, with compensatory measures to ensure the rights of the Sámi reindeer herders.

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