Activists block road to logging area in Lapland

The Finnish forest management agency Metsähallitus confirmed that logging was halted in the Aalistunturi area on Monday. (Tapani Leisti / Yle News)

A third week of protest action in a forest harvesting dispute in the Aalistunturi area in west-central Lapland began Sunday night when activists blocked a road, causing logging operations to be suspended.

The action is being taken by members of the Forest Movement (Metsäliike in Finnish), a forest conservation group that includes activists from Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Finnish Nature League. The group said nine Finnish protesters were on the site as of Monday morning, joined by seven activists from the Swedish forest movement Skogsupproret.

The Finnish forest management organisation Metsähallitus confirmed that logging was halted Monday.

The protesters are demanding that Metsähallitus suspend all logging activities in the area while a proposal for designating Aalistunturi as a protected area is under review.

Over the past two weeks, police have twice dismantled the activists’ camp at the site.

Forest movement activist Neeta Murtomäki told Yle that the group’s action will continue until further notice.

“The demonstration will continue as long as it has to continue or is allowed to continue. The same requirements as the two previous Mondays remain. We want to defend the Aalistunturi region,” she said.

According to Murtomäki, the activists also want to spur a wider discussion on the Finnish state’s forestry operations in general.

Last week, the Administrative Court of Northern Finland rejected a filing by the Finnish Nature League asking the court to order logging in the area to be suspended while a formal complaint by the League against the logging operation is being processed.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Climate change affecting composition of forests in Yukon, Canada, study finds

Finland: Forest conservation activists return to Lapland logging site, Yle News

Sweden: Sweden to support forest industry following historic summer wildfires, Radio Sweden

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