Protests force Norway’s energy minister to cancel UK trip

Mar 1, 2023, 3:11 AM | Updated: 11:39 am

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is carried away during a protest outside the Norwegian Ministry of ...

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is carried away during a protest outside the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, in Oslo, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Climate activists demonstrated for a third consecutive day against a wind farm they say hinders the rights of the Sami Indigenous people to raise reindeer in Arctic Norway. (Javad Parsa//NTB Scanpix via AP)

(Javad Parsa//NTB Scanpix via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway’s energy minister on Wednesday canceled a trip to the U.K. because of a protest against a wind farm that campaigners say hinders the rights of the Sami Indigenous people to raise reindeer in Arctic Norway.

The activists, mainly teenagers, have been blocking the entrance to several ministries in the Norwegian capital since Monday. They are protesting against a wind farm that’s still operating despite a ruling by Norway’s Supreme Court in October 2021 that the construction of the wind turbines violated the rights of the Sami, who have been using the land for reindeer for centuries.

Activist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that they were “escalating another couple of notches. We have said we will shut down the state of Norway, department by department.”

Using a bullhorn, Hætta Isaksen told cheering activists later Wednesday that “we continue the blockade.”

“We cannot solve the energy crisis by ignoring the rights of Indigenous people,” she said.

A dozen activists were forcibly removed from the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, including Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Some of them chanted “let the mountains live,” the Norwegian news agency NTB said.

Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland “has chosen to reprioritize his calendar and will therefore not travel to the U.K. as planned,” his office said.

He was due to take part in a two-day visit starting Wednesday with the Norwegian crown prince and his wife. The ministry said that Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt will replace him.

“Let me say that it is regrettable that we have come to the point where we have an Indigenous people who feel that their rights have been violated,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told NTB.

On Tuesday, Aasland spoke with the activists, some of whom donned the Sami’s traditional bright-colored dress, saying the government will make a “new decision” on the wind farm, but he couldn’t give any specifics “until we have a sufficient knowledge basis for it.”

That infuriated the activists who said in a statement that “our will to fight is only growing after Terje Aasland’s visit with the same empty words as always.”

The activists have been protesting outside the Energy Ministry since Thursday. They began blocking the entrances to other ministries on Tuesday.

In a letter to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Calí Tzay, the Sami Parliament of Norway urged the U.N. body to “consider communicating with the Norwegian authorities.”

In the letter which was posted on the parliament site, its speaker Silje Karine Mutoka said “the windmills must be demolished, and the area restored to reindeer grazing land.”

She is due to meet with Aasland on Thursday to discuss the wind farm.

The 39-seat Sametinget is a representative body in Norway for people of the Sami who live in Lapland, which stretches from northern parts of Norway through Sweden and Finland to Russia.

They once faced oppression of their culture, including bans on the use of their native tongue. Today the nomadic people live mostly modern lifestyles but still tend reindeer.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

23 minutes ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

1 hour ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

4 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

5 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

12 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Protests force Norway’s energy minister to cancel UK trip