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Nearly 1,500 Clevelanders sign letter urging City Council to pass resolution for cease-fire in Gaza

A pro-Palestinian protester holds a sign reading "Ceasefire now. Free Palestine. Stop the genocide. End occupation" in the gallery of Cleveland City Council.
Matthew Chasney
Ideastream Public Media
Pro-Palestinian protesters sit in the gallery at a Cleveland City Council meeting on Jan. 22, 2024.

Nearly 1,500 Cleveland residents, businesses and organizations signed a letter sent to Cleveland City Council Monday calling on members to pass a resolution supporting a cease-fire in Gaza.

"The people of Cleveland have clearly and repeatedly asked that their council representatives pass a resolution that explicitly calls for a ceasefire, condemns the genocide in Gaza, and condemns rising anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, Islamophobic and anti-Jewish attacks in our city," the letter sent to council by the Palestine Task Force Cle said. "The Clevelanders who have made this ask represent the beautiful diversity of our community, recognizing that this is not just an issue that impacts Palestinians, but that impacts all of us."

But after months of pressure from protesters, Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin said they are not considering action at this point.

"Unless they actually team up with each other with different groups and tell us how we can do something the Cleveland way … then we’re not just going to do something that’s strictly coming from one side," Griffin told Ideastream Monday.

Other cities across the country, including Akron, have passed similar resolutions.

Monday night marks the 11th consecutive meeting at which residents spoke at public comment to ask for the support of Cleveland's local government officials.

Griffin said protesters have sometimes violated council rules by bringing and displaying signs, which are banned in council chambers, and speaking or chanting over city council members throughout the meetings. At least one person has been removed from chambers by Cleveland police.

On Monday night, City Council adjourned early after the meeting was interrupted by shouting and chanting in chambers.

Griffin said some members of the public, particularly those in support of Israel, have told him they feel unsafe showing up to City Hall. Griffin called that "unacceptable."

According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war between Israel and Hamas, since Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel in October, killing some 1,200 people.

Read the full letter here:

Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.