Woodbridge mayor arrested in robes 'representing people of town'

Mayor of Woodbridge Eamonn O'Nolan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Mayor of Woodbridge, Green Party member Eamonn O'Nolan, was part of the Extinction Rebellion protest

A mayor arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest in London while wearing his robes said he was "representing the people" of his town.

Eamonn O'Nolan, mayor of Woodbridge in Suffolk, was detained after being part of a group of more than 500 climate change activists in Trafalgar Square.

The Green Party member has faced criticism for protesting in his robes, usually donned for civic duties.

Mr O'Nolan said he was prompted to join in by a letter from people in the town.

The Metropolitan Police began making arrests after activists defied an order banning them from demonstrating anywhere in London.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds defied the protest ban to gather in Trafalgar Square

Mr O'Nolan was in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, alongside some protesters who had covered their mouths with black tape to symbolise the silencing of their protest.

He said: "What specifically got me out there yesterday was a letter I got from people in Woodbridge. It was a small petition with about 35 signatures.

"They asked that the town council represent them at the public assembly which Extinction Rebellion were running yesterday, so that's what I did.

"I am the mayor, I was elected by the people of Woodbridge. Sure, it was an unusual thing for the police and public to see but I was there representing the people of Woodbridge."

Some have criticised his decision to wear the robes at the protest, with one saying he had bought the outfit "into disrepute".

However, Mr O'Nolan said "95 to 98%" of internet traffic had been "highly supportive" of his actions.

"People who are vehemently opposed to what I did [on Wednesday] really should have been there with an open mind and a lot of them would not have liked what they saw," he said.

He added that he had expected to be charged by police, but was released under investigation.

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