Group rallies in Naperville urging city leaders to support Gaza cease-fire resolution

A group of more than 100 people marched Saturday in downtown Naperville to keep pressure on the city council to adopt a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Naperville police issued an alert on social media Saturday afternoon that the crowd’s movement was causing a rolling closure of streets as it approached city hall.

Protesters have attended three city council meetings calling for such a resolution and presented a petition with more than 1,200 signatures to officials, organizer Steve Moon said. They further plan to attend the next council meeting on Tuesday night.

  Naperville resident Nicole Kamar speaks Saturday during a rally in downtown Naperville to demand the city council pass a cease-fire resolution at its upcoming meeting. Brian Hill/

He added Saturday’s rally and march were peaceful and non-confrontational, though police had reinforced their presence at city hall by the time the crowd arrived there.

A number of people spoke during the rally.

“We are here today to let city council and Mayor Wehrli know we reject our complicity in genocide,” Naperville resident and Palestine Activism Crew organizer Zahra Nabavi said in a prepared statement. “If you are truly our representatives, you must transparently reflect our refusal to be complicit in the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in your resolutions, your contracts, and your legislation, and know that any and all actions you take with the power we entrusted you with, we will remember every single moment of it.”

  Seventeen-year-old Sabrina Hamdan of Naperville, a Neuqua Valley High School student, calls for a cease-fire as she speaks during a rally Saturday in Naperville. “It’s not a question of if the people of Palestine will get their justice, it’s a question of when,” she said. Brian Hill/

“We are here not to destroy, but to build,” added Keith Larson, a former member of Congregation Beth Shalom. “We are building stronger community because we know that our collective voice of love can drown out the voice of hate.”

Nearly a week ago, Villa Park became another DuPage County community to adopt a Gaza cease-fire resolution.

  Naperville residents gather Saturday for a rally to demand the Naperville city council pass a cease-fire resolution for Gaza. Brian Hill/

The village of Bolingbrook, DuPage Township, and the city of Chicago governments have expressed their support for an end to violence in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Villa Park Village President Nick Cuzzone cast the sole dissenting vote against that village’s resolution, saying such action was unprecedented, but added that he intended to sign it after it had been approved.

Since last month, several suburban village boards and city councils have fielded requests for local resolutions calling for an end to the Gaza conflict and the killing of civilians.

However, many officials have echoed Cuzzone’s sentiments that the overseas conflict is beyond the scope of a local municipality’s operational oversight.

Villa Park’s new resolution decries “violence of any sort” and stands against any violence against Palestinian or Israeli citizens. It also notes the actions of Hamas “does not reflect the beliefs of all Gazans” and that the actions of the Israeli government “does not reflect the beliefs of all Israelis.”

The resolution also demands the immediate release of all hostages and a permanent cease-fire. It goes on to state the village does not support federal tax dollars being spent on “weapons of war that result in the killing of innocent civilians.”

“We ask that all the world powers come together to create an immediate path to permanent peace,” the resolution reads.

  More than 100 people gathered Saturday in Naperville for a rally to demand the Naperville city council pass a cease-fire resolution at its upcoming meeting. Brian Hill/
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