World

Norway’s government has apologised to reindeer herders following protests over a wind farm built on land they have used for centuries.

Activists, mostly teenagers, started demonstrating a week ago and have blocked several government buildings in the capital Oslo.

They say the presence of the 151 turbines violates the rights of the Sami people and is operating in contravention of a 2021 Supreme Court court ruling.

The wind farm is in the Fosen district, nearly 300 miles north of Oslo.

Police carried protesters away from the finance and culture ministries on Thursday as some activists sang a Sami chant and wore their traditional colourful clothes.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke to crowds after being one of those detained this week.

“I have apologised to the reindeer owners on behalf of the government,” said oil and energy minister Terje Aasland after meeting the speaker of the Sami parliament.

More on Norway

“They have been in a difficult and unclear situation for a long time. I’m sorry about that,” he said.

The speaker, Silje Karine Muotka, welcomed Thursday’s apology and said it was “crucial” to move forward and “important that we now have a common perception that we are dealing with a human rights violation”.

A resolution has not yet been reached but Norway’s prime minister will meet Ms Muotka next week as part of a previously planned visit to northern Norway.

The Sami are recognised by several international groups as Europe’s only indigenous people because their cultural roots predate Norway’s creation.

Known previously as the Lapps, about 40,000 to 60,000 live in Norway after settling in Arctic Europe about 9,000 years ago from central Asia.

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