Activists end protest at Norway ministries over illegal wind farms

Demonstrators protesting against wind farms that were declared illegal after they were built said Friday they will end their action, following a week of action at Norway's government buildings.

It follows an apology by the government for violating the rights of the Sami reindeer herders with the construction of 151 turbines in the Fosen region in western Norway -- which are still in operation, despite the supreme court declaring them illegal in October 2021.

Elle Nystad, one of the Sami activist leaders, said Friday that Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store "has promised to ensure that the government will give priority to this issue."

"Therefore, for our last day of action, we are sitting in front of the Royal Palace during the weekly cabinet meeting," she added.

A rally was also held in the morning in front of Norway's parliament, attended by dozens of people dressed in Sami traditional red and blue costumes.

Since February 23 indigenous Sami activists, later joined by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, have been occupying or blocking ministries while demanding the demolition of the wind turbines.

The country's highest court unanimously ruled in October 2021 that the expropriation and operating permits issued for the construction of the turbines in the Fosen region of western Norway were invalid.

The court found that the project violated the rights of Sami families to practise their culture of reindeer husbandry.

However, the ruling gave no guidance on what should be done with the turbines, which are already in operation.

According to the six reindeer herding families concerned, the noise and shape of the turbines frighten their animals, depriving them of their best winter pastures.

The Norwegian authorities have so far held off taking action and have ordered further assessments.

The Sami -- an indigenous minority of around 100,000 people spread over the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia -- have traditionally lived from fishing and reindeer herding.

On Friday, Store agreed to one of the activists demands by officially recognising "a violation of human rights" at the expense of the Sami.