Bloomington City Council Overrides Mayor’s Veto on Gaza Ceasefire Resolution; Homeless camps in Bloomington razed this week

Courtesy photo by Jennifer Kirby

Staff report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — May 1, 2024

The Bloomington City Council decisively overrode Mayor Kerry Thomson’s veto on a Gaza Ceasefire Resolution, voting 9-0 during a council meeting held Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

The resolution, which calls for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict, gained traction amidst the devastating toll it has taken in Gaza, where over 34,000 people have lost their lives, with the potential for widespread starvation among over a million others. Last month, the Israeli Defense Forces’ strike on a humanitarian mission aimed at providing aid to those trapped in Gaza further fueled calls for intervention.

On October 7, 2024, Hamas claimed the lives of over 1,200 individuals in Israel and took more than 200 hostages.

Mayor Thomson had previously stated her intent to veto the resolution, citing a focus on local issues as her priority.

The council’s action comes in the wake of heightened activism in Bloomington, with over 50 Indiana University students and faculty members being arrested by Indiana State Police riot troopers over the weekend during a protest against the war. The demonstration, which saw tents erected on Dunn Meadow, aimed to draw attention to the conflict’s impact.

Additionally, the City of Bloomington recently enforced evictions of at least two homeless camps, employing heavy equipment to clear vegetation at one site, rendering it unusable for future habitation by the unhoused population. A reader reached out to the Bloomingtonian to express dismay that residents had been removing invasive plants in the area of the camps, now the invasives and native plants have been shredded into a salad by the city’s attempt to make the area uninhabitable. The shredding has setback efforts to remove the invasive plants.

City Council members Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 1), President Andy Ruff (At Large), Vice President Matt Flaherty (At Large), Kate Rosenbarger (District 2), Hopi Stosberg (District 3, Parliamentarian), Dave Rollo (District 4), Courtney Daily (District 5), and Sydney Zulich (District 6) collectively penned a letter addressed to Indiana University President Pamela Whitten and Indiana University Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav, denouncing the use of armed state troopers in the recent arrests at the university.

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