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Environmental activists block entrance to Norway’s energy ministry

DOZENS of environmental activists blocked the entrance to Norway’s energy ministry in Oslo on Monday.

The activists, including Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, were protesting against a wind farm they say hinders the rights of the Sami Indigenous people to raise reindeer in Arctic Norway.

The activists lay outside the ministry entrance holding Sami flags and a poster reading “Land Back.” The Sami live in Lapland, which stretches from northern parts of Norway through Sweden and Finland to Russia.

The protesters, from organisations Young Friends of the Earth Norway and the Norwegian Sami Association’s youth council NSR-Nuorat, said “the ongoing human rights violations against Sami reindeer herders must come to an end.” 

Some activists donned the Sami’s traditional bright-coloured dress and put up a tent used by the Arctic people, who have endured systematic oppression, including the prohibition of their native tongue.

In October 2021, Norway’s supreme court ruled that the construction of the wind turbines violated the rights of the Sami, who have been using the land to raise reindeer for centuries. However, the wind farm is still operating.

“It is absurd that the Norwegian government has chosen to ignore the ruling,” said Ms Thunberg.

Over the weekend, the protesters had occupied the ministry’s lobby but were evicted by police early on Monday, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK. 

They then chained themselves to the ministry’s main entrance, prompting authorities to urge employees to work from home.

Other activists sitting outside the doors of nearby government buildings “have been ordered to move  — if they don’t, we will remove them by force,” said police spokesman Brian Skotnes shortly before officers were seen carrying activists away. 
 

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