Watch: Ipswich MP Sandy Martin under fire from climate protesters over northern bypass
PUBLISHED: 16:36 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 20 September 2019
Hundreds of climate change protesters took to the streets in towns across the region as part of the International Day of action on climate change.
In Ipswich hundreds of people of all ages - from schoolchildren to grandparents - gathered on the Cornhill to hear local MP Sandy Martin and youngsters inspired by the Extinction Rebellion protest explain why they were taking to the streets.
Mr Martin defended the children taking a day off school: "For those who are here today it is the first, or possibly the second, day that they have left classes to have their voice heard on such an important issue.
"If they were doing it every week it would be a different matter - but this is so vital for future generations it is right they should have their say."
The Ipswich MP came under fire from many in the crowd over his support for a northern bypass for Ipswich - people said the money would be better invested in better public transport or encouraging cycling or walking.
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Mr Martin said: "No road will be built for the next ten years and by then most of the cars being sold will be electric. We need new homes and without the road there will be worse congestion and more fumes in the town."
However that did not satisfy his critics who warned any new road would just attract more vehicles on to the roads: "You can't be worried about climate change AND want to build new roads," said one protester in an exchange with the MP.
Ashton Wyss who helped organise the protest said many schools had been supportive of pupils taking part in protest - which is one of thousands taking place across the globe.
But it was also very important that there was a wide range of people taking part this time - showing that those of all ages and backgrounds were concerned about the issue.
He said: "The first protest we had here a few months ago was mainly children. This time we're pleased to see people of all ages here."
As well as Ipswich there were protests in Colchester's Castle Park, at Bury St Edmunds, at Lowestoft - and an event at the RSPB nature reserve at Minsmere.
At the Flatford Wildlife Garden on the Suffolk/Essex border a day of action to oppose climate change was held which included 19 pupils from Dedham Primary School's Eco-Council.