May 22, 2024

The Naperville City Council adjourned its meeting Tuesday to calls of “cease-fire now!” after another string of pleas for a local Gaza cease-fire resolution was met with no response from elected officials.

After packing the council chambers last month, a group of community members from in and around the city again spent the bulk of the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting entreating members to issue a resolution calling for a permanent cease-fire resolution in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Some two dozen speakers requested the symbolic declaration addressing the ongoing conflict, which has devastated much of the Gaza Strip.

As was the case at the last meeting, council members didn’t speak to the comments or make any indication that a local cease-fire resolution is something they’d consider.

Aggravated, cease-fire supporters remained in the council chambers at meeting’s end in an effort to get some response from officials before they left.

As council members got up from their seats and started to trickle out, about 30 or so remaining audience members started chanting, “Cease-fire now! Cease-fire now! Cease-fire now!”

One person stepped forward to directly address Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli, who was still sitting at the dais.

“Genuinely, from human to human, what is the hesitation to just include it on the next agenda as an item for consideration to be a symbolic gesture,” they said. “That’s all we’re asking.”

Wehrli explained that to put any new business on a future agenda requires support from at least three council members by a show of hands.

“None of that happened tonight,” he said.

Still, Wehrli assured, “Your words have absolutely been recorded for history in the city council’s minutes. … Your words are recorded forever. People heard your words. The fact that city council didn’t put it on a future agenda does not mean you are unheard.”

People continued to shout and directly address lingering council members until Councilman Benny White replied, “Our meeting’s over and we can’t discuss it.”

While he added that he was listening, he maintained that discussions couldn’t continue post-adjournment Tuesday.

Overall, the exchange went on for about six minutes. It ended with the remaining crowd leaving as they chanted, “Free, free Palestine!”

tkenny@chicagotribune.com

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