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Woodbridge mayor defends wearing mayoral robes after protest arrest

PUBLISHED: 08:02 17 October 2019

Police remove Eamonn O'Nolan  from an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in London Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Police remove Eamonn O'Nolan from an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in London Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Mayor of Woodbridge Eamonn O'Nolan has defended his choice to wear his mayoral robes during Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests following his arrest yesterday and said it showed he was representing his town.

Mr O'Nolan was arrested at the protests on Wednesday afternoon by Metropolitan Police and taken into custody in Brixton were he remained until the evening.

He was part of a large group of more than 500 protesters from the climate change protest group who had gathered in and around Trafalgar Square. #In the wake of his arrest, Mr O'Nolan has faced criticism over his decision to wear the ceremonial robes.

However, Mr O'Nolan said: "I had been asked to go as a representative of the people of Woodbridge. If I went in my jumper how would people know it was me."

Further explaining what he meant by his claim he had been asked to represent the market town, he added: "I got a letter from at least 30 people who live in and around Woodbridge.

"They asked if the council would send a representative down to the Extinction Rebellion Assembly. So that's why I went down there."

Mr O'Nolan admitted he had some reservations on his way to the protests, and was aware his actions could lead to his arrest.

"I was pretty apprehensive, I thought there was a pretty good chance I was going to be arrested.

Once at the scene though Mr O'Nolan became aware of the large police presence in central London.

"It settled my resolve," said Mr O'Nolan.

Climate change activist George Monbiot and Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley who were sat next to Mr O'Nolan at the time were also arrested by police.

Mr O'Nolan was not charged by police and was released under investigation.

Asked if he would go down to the protest again Mr O'Nolan said: "Absolutely. I've had a small amount of negative feedback.

"To people who disagreed I would said that they didn't see people stopped across London like I did.

"I would be quite prepared to have a conviction."

Any assembly of more than two people linked to the XR Autumn Uprising action was made illegal in London earlier this week.

Despite this, protests have been continuing across the capital with further events expected today.

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