Norwegian police detained Greta Thunberg during a pro-Sami protest

  • Activists are calling for the removal of two wind farms
  • Protests blocked the ministries
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that wind farms violate indigenous rights
  • The Energy Minister says he needs time to reach a compromise

OSLO (Reuters) – Environmental activist Greta Thunberg was arrested twice during a pro-indigenous rights demonstration in Oslo on Wednesday after police removed her and other activists from the Finance Ministry and later the Environment Ministry.

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

Demonstrators in recent days have blocked access to some government buildings, putting the centre-left minority government in crisis and prompting Energy Minister Terje Asland to cancel an official visit to Britain.

Norway’s Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the turbines, which were erected at two wind farms in Fössen and part of Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, violated Sami’s rights under international agreements, but are still operating more than 16 months later.

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

“We want to make it absolutely clear that the real crime here is the Norwegian state, 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 police.

For many, Thunberg was set free, along with other activists who had also been arrested.

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

The Energy Department said the turbines present a legal deadlock despite the Supreme Court ruling and hopes a compromise can be reached, but it could take another year for a new decision in the Vossen case.

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

Additional reporting by Gwladys Foch, additional reporting by Nora Polley and Victoria Clesty, by Terry Solsvik; Editing by Nora Polley and John Stonestreet

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