12 Sep
  • By Aizhana Danabekova

The Sami people are opposing to construct a railway through Lapland

The Sami, indigenous people of northern Finland, are protesting against the authorities’ plans to build a railway through Lapland to the Arctic Ocean, reports Finnish Sami Youth. Earlier, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland informed that the priority route of the railway was chosen to connect the existing infrastructure in the Finnish cities of Oulu and Rovaniemi with the Norwegian Kirkenes, and thus will allow the country’s transport system access to the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

On September 4, the series of protests began in the southern part of Lapland, and have been passing every day in different places. “It’s great that the protests began here because from here begins the territory of the Saami. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to show everyone that this issue is not foreign to indigenous peoples,” said the representative of the Saami, the reindeer herder Petra Biret Magga-Vars.

The shares try to draw public attention to the preservation of the unique nature of the Arctic. The protesters dressed in red, holding placards and banners with the inscriptions “The Forest is Life,” “No Routes to the Arctic Ocean,” “Our Forest – Hands Off,” arranged in a particular order. Also, the organizers are expecting that their protests will attract the attention of environmentalists and authorities to keep off the nature of the north of Finland and prevent the plans for the construction of the railway.


Aizhana Danabekova holds a BA in International Relations and is currently studying for an MSocSc in Cultural Sociology at University College Dublin. She started her career in journalism in Almaty, Kazakhstan at Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.  She wrote articles about different cultures and led the title “Let’s learn Kazakh”.