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Emotions run high at Indio City Council meeting amid resolution over Israel-Hamas war

The Indio City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday condemning the Hamas terrorist attacks and anti-semitism, but it wasn't without controversy.

The resolution was pulled from the consent calendar by Councilmember Oscar Ortiz to allow for public comment. This led to 30 minutes of public comment with all of the speakers urging the council to amend the current resolution to include a condemnation of Islamophobia and condemn what some residents who spoke called Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza. 

You can watch the full discussion below:

Councilmember Waymond Fermon acknowledged the speakers and discussed the possibility of coming together to amend the resolution with the community in mind.

"I appreciate the comments and if there's a motion to do another resolution I'm okay with it," Fermon said.

Ortiz, who called for a ceasefire back in October, condemned the attack by Hamas but wanted to add language condemning what he called war crimes by Israel in Gaza.

"Because we will be bringing forward a second resolution, hopefully, in support of Councilmember Fermon to acknowledge the war crimes being committed in Gaza, I do think that we need to support our Jewish community here and that's what I'll be voting for today to let people know that we do condemn the killing of innocent civilians in Israel and we condemn anti-semitism and we'll work on that second resolution to acknowledge the war crimes in Gaza and Islamaphobia," Ortiz said.

Mayor Guadalupe Ramos Amith stepped in and shut the idea down.

"Staff is not directed to bring any more resolutions forward," Amith said.

Fermon added, "I want to add, we've done this for other groups, so we've got to take that into consideration."

Amith responded, "We're not doing it," before loudly shushing the crowd as emotions started to run high in the council chambers.

"Shush, or I will have everyone removed," Amith told some of the vocal crowd.

Amith immediately called for a five-minute recess before asking public safety to clear the room. Amith returned to the council chambers after the recess asking for staff to alert councilmembers to return to the chambers or they would continue without them.

Shortly after the meeting returned asked public safety to remove the crowd again, this time as they were gathered outside, who could be heard on the city's livestream.

Amith noted in an interview with News Channel 3's Jennifer Franco that the proposed resolution did not have consensus but could return on the council's agenda at a later date if there is consensus.

News Channel 3's Jennifer Franco was at the meeting and spoke to attendees after they were removed from the council chambers. She'll have more on this tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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