Pro-Palestinian protest disrupts county Legislature meeting

Pro-Palestinian protest disrupts county meeting

The day's major News events, business reports, sports updates, Rochester area weather information and tomorrow's forecast are presented by the News10NBC Team.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A pro-Palestinian protest took place outside the Monroe County Office building during the county Legislature’s meeting. The protesters were calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Some people were seen dancing on an Israeli flag, as seen in a video shot by WXXI’s Gino Fanelli.

In the public forum portion of the Legislature’s meeting, some residents called on the Legislature to express support for a cease-fire and call on federal representatives to work toward one.

“Despite the disproportionate response that Israelis had, the collective punishment, the consistent war crimes, the white phosphorus, the targeting of the hospitals, the targeting of the health care facilities, the targeting of bakeries, the targeting of civilians — and yet Adam Bello has stayed silent, and yet there is an Israeli flag hanging, was hanging, outside of this building,” Jonathan Khoury said outside the building.

County Executive Adam Bello, Legislative Majority Leader Steve Brew and Legislator Michael Yudelson issued the following joint statement:

“Tonight, December 12th, the Monroe County Legislature meeting was disrupted and paused by an unruly protest from pro-Palestinian supporters, which led to an abrupt end of the public forum and prevented citizens from sharing their views with their representatives. The protestors’ intimidating behavior towards elected officials and to other citizens present was unacceptable.

The County Executive and the Monroe County Legislature will not tolerate an unsafe environment for community members who come to speak and watch the monthly meeting. We condemn this behavior. Rest assured the administration and the Legislature will take all necessary measures to ensure that the public forum remains a safe and respectful space for everyone to express their views.

The chanting and shouting was threatening and alarming to the members of the Jewish community and legislators present in legislative chambers. The protest sought to shut down the work of county government. It failed. The Monroe County Legislature proceeded with the remaining items on the agenda and was able to accomplish real work for our local community.  Thank you to the men and women of the Monroe County Sheriff’s to Office, the Rochester Police Department and New York State Police for their professional handling and dispersal of the protesters.”

Legislature President Sabrina LaMar also issued a statement:

“The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. People have a right to express their opinions, no matter how controversial they may be. However, the First Amendment does not give individuals the right to interfere with the rights of others, or to interfere with governmental proceedings, as happened tonight.

It is unfortunate that because of the actions of pro-Palestinian supporters, the Legislature had to end the Public Forum session prematurely in order to restore order in the Legislative chambers. It also overshadowed the passage of the 2nd unanimous budget in a row.

I would like to apologize to the members of the Federation of Social Workers who were unable to
address the Legislature this evening because of this unfortunate disruption to our proceedings.”