A sit-down strike has been going on for several days outside the Ministry of Oil and Energy in Oslo. Activists are calling for the wind turbines in the Norwegian town of Fössen to be demolished, because the Norwegian Supreme Court has concluded that it prevents the Sami people from carrying out reindeer husbandry in the area, which is contrary to the rights of the indigenous people.
But even though nearly 500 days have passed since the verdict, nothing has happened.
Already on Sunday, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tried to join the group, but was then prevented by the police. On Monday and Tuesday, she returned and squatted with activists from Nature and Youth and the Norwegian federation Sami Nuorat.
Activists say they will not leave voluntarily until a decision is made to demolish the wind turbines.
The struggle for indigenous rights, for human rights, for the climate is global. Greta Thunberg tells NTB Norway that there are many local examples where rights are being violated and when that happens you have to speak out.
During 2019 and 2020, construction of two Norwegian Fosen wind farms in Trøndelag was completed. But the area was used for hundreds of years by the Sami as a winter pasture for reindeer.
The new wind turbines have caused problems for many Sami reindeer families, as the turbines disturb the reindeer.
Almost 500 days ago, the Norwegian Supreme Court concluded that the wind power project was invalid and contrary to the rights of indigenous peoples. But despite the ruling, 150 wind turbines are still standing in the area.
Since it was the government that granted the building permit for the wind farm, they and the developers should review what is happening now. The government said it would not call for wind turbines to be removed, but would consider other options.
Sami says it does not help to pay them compensation because they need areas where the reindeer can roam and graze.
Now Sami activists have gathered with the Nature and Youth group outside the Ministry of Oil and Energy in Oslo to demand the demolition of the wind farm.
– SEK 750,000 was collected to cover the fines
Nature and Youth has raised over NOK 750,000, the equivalent of SEK 757,000, which will go towards paying any fines as well as paying legal aid and food for the activists.
– We’ve started the fundraiser to ensure legal aid can be provided to the activists who protested at the Ministry of Oil and Energy on Thursday morning, Nature and Youth Director Gina Gilver tells CNN. VG.
You want the demands to be taken seriously
The Norwegian police tried repeatedly to remove the activists from the sit-in, but they repeatedly returned. According to Norway’s NTB, around 200 protesters must have gathered over the course of Monday and Tuesday.
Sami activists there hope the demonstrations will lead to change.
– The waterfall is just one of the many things that characterize the whole of Sapmi today. I hope Vossen’s ruling will be a change and that it will also change the authorities’ handling of Sami and Sami issues, artist and actress Ella Mari Heta Isaksen, who is protesting against wind turbines, says to svt Thursday.
Celje Karen Motka, the speaker of the Saami-Norwegian Parliament, says she expects the authorities to take their demands seriously.
On Monday, Tromsø Mayor Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Labor Party) also gave support to the activists.
– As I interpret this, the windmills must be demolished, said Wilhelmsen VG.
But Aina Borch (PT), mayor of the Norwegian town of Porsinger in northern Finnmark, says that even if the decision on the Füssen wind farm is an isolated case, it could have consequences for other territorial disputes.
– I also understand that they want a solution that favors their point of view, says Mayor Aina Borsch to VG and continues:
– But I am genuinely worried about developments in the North if the activists’ demands are followed. We are in difficult territorial conflicts with many stakeholders in Finnmark. I know what the Sami Parliament says about the businesses we propose. They are not interested in discussion.
Also read: Thunberg is suspended from the Norwegian strike
Also read: Sami on returning home: ‘Sweden is lagging behind’
Also read: Church’s apology to Sami – Seeing her forest
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