COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Seven of the activists who repeatedly have demonstrated against a wind farm in central Norway that they say hinders the rights of the Sami Indigenous people to raise reindeer met with the Norwegian king on Monday and his son who is heir to the throne.
”It was a very strong moment for us — emotionally charged,” activist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen told the VG newspaper after the meeting with King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon at the royal palace in Oslo. “We experienced not only being believed, but a human meeting with someone who really meets people with compassion and sympathy.”
”It makes a world of difference in the face of this state, which is so strong and arrogant and difficult to talk to,” she told the daily.
Before the meeting, another activist told Norwegian news agency NTB that “we have nowhere else to go.”
“We hope his majesty will listen to us and remind the responsible state of its responsibility,” Elle Nystad said.
At the center of the dispute are the 151 turbines of Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, which is located in Norway’s Fosen district, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of the capital, Oslo. The activists say a transition to green energy shouldn’t come at the expense of the rights of Indigenous people.
They have protested several times since the Supreme Court of Norway ruled in October 2021 that the construction of the turbines had violated the rights of the Sami, who have used the land for reindeer for centuries.
The activists, many dressed in traditional colorful garments, have sat down inside parliament, outside the building in Oslo of the state-owned company that operates 80 of the wind turbines at Fosen, outside the offices of Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for four days in February. They also have temporarily blocked the entrances to 10 ministries.
They had asked for the meeting with the Norway’s monarch, who has a ceremonial role as the country’s head of state. They said they know that the king has no political power. But they have said that “we just want to be listened to.”
The palace confirmed the meeting took place and “they presented their view” to the monarch and his son.