Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Monday chained herself to the entrance of the Norway Ministry of Energy to protest wind turbines operating on lands used by the Sami Indigenous people to herd reindeer.
The well-known 20-year-old climate protester sat with activists from the indigenous group, mostly teenagers, to protest the government’s solution to expand clean energy and said going green should not come at the expense of indigenous rights.
The turbines in question currently run on land in Arctic Norway, which the nation’s Supreme Court ruled in 2021 violated the rights of the Sami who have used the land to raise reindeer for centuries. However, the wind farm has continued to operate.
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Activists from the Young Friends of The Earth Norway and the Norwegian Sami Association’s youth council NSR-Nuorat chained themselves, along with Thunberg, to the entrance of the ministry and blocked access to government building.
The activist accused the continued turbine operations as an “ongoing human rights violation” and said it “must come to an end.”
“Indigenous rights, human rights, must go hand-in-hand with climate protection and climate action,” Thunberg told Reuters. “That can’t happen at the expense of some people. Then it is not climate justice.”
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The Sami – who live in an area known as Lapland which stretches across parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and over to Russia – have argued that the sight and sound of the powerful turbines disrupt their herding traditions.
The Sami have demanded that the wind farm be torn down.
Thunberg called the decision by the Norwegian government to ignore the Supreme Court ruling “absurd” and joined the five-day-long protest early Monday morning.
The protesters had originally occupied the ministry’s lobby but were kicked out by authorities Monday according to local media.
They then chained themselves to the front of the ministry which forced the ministry to ask employees to work from home.
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Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland told Norwegian media that though the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the turbines it did not rule on what should be done about the wind farm.
The protesters were eventually removed from the premises though they were not arrested.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.