Greta Thunberg arrested by Norwegian police during pro-Sami protest

  • Campaigns require the removal of 2 wind farms
  • Protests have blocked ministries
  • Wind farms violate the rights of indigenous people, the Supreme Court ruled
  • The energy minister says that it takes time to find a compromise

OSLO, March 1 (Reuters) – Environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg was detained twice during a demonstration in favor of indigenous rights in Oslo on Wednesday, where police removed her and other activists from the finance ministry and later the environment ministry.

On Monday, Thunberg had joined protesters who demanded the removal of 151 wind turbines from reindeer pastures used by Sami herders in central Norway. They say a transition to green energy should not come at the expense of indigenous people’s rights.

The protesters have in recent days blocked access to some government buildings, putting the centre-left minority government on a crisis footing and causing Energy Minister Terje Aasland to cancel an official visit to the UK.

Norway’s Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the turbines, erected on two wind farms on Fosen and part of Europe’s largest land-based wind power complex, violated Sami rights according to international conventions, but they are still in operation more than 16 months later.

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Thunberg, wearing a red, blue, yellow and green Sami flag, was lifted and carried away by police officers from the Ministry of Finance as hundreds of protesters shouted slogans.

– We want to make it absolutely clear that it is the Norwegian state that is committing the real crime here, for violating human rights, she told Reuters minutes before she was removed.

Thunberg and other protesters later blocked the entrance to the Ministry of Climate and Environment and were again removed by the police.

Thunberg, for many a global standard bearer of the campaign to end the world’s dependence on carbon-based energy, was released along with other activists who had also been detained.

Reindeer herders say the sight and sound of the giant wind turbine scares their animals and disrupts ancient traditions.

The Ministry of Energy has said that the turbines pose a legal dilemma despite the Supreme Court ruling and hopes to find a compromise, but that it may take another year to reach a new decision in the Fosen case.

Activists said Tuesday they had raised close to $100,000 in recent days to help individual protesters pay police fines.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, additional reporting by Nora Buli and Victoria Klesty, written by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Nora Buli and John Stonestreet

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Gwladys Fouche

Thomson Reuters

Monitors news coverage from Norway for Reuters and loves flying to Svalbard in the Arctic, oil platforms in the North Sea, and guessing who is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was born in France and with Reuters since 2010, and has worked for The Guardian, Agence France-Presse and Al Jazeera English, among others, and speaks four languages.

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