By Mike Steely
Senior Writer

Citizens protesting the Israel-Hamas conflict disrupted the Tuesday meeting of the Knoxville City Council. Mayor Indya Kincannon warned the protesters about interrupting the session and she recessed the council for several minutes amid loud shouting from the large crowd.
The loud and active protest came after Councilwoman Amelia Parker introduced a resolution in support of the civilians injured and killed in the war.
Three Palestine supporters and three local Jewish citizens addressed the meeting. Palestine supporters charged Mayor Kincannon with openly supporting Israel’s side in the conflict and charged she locked out a hundred or so supporters from attending the meeting. Protesters in the hallway just outside the meeting were vocal during the meeting. Kincannon said she closed off the balcony for fear someone might get hurt there.
Parker, who put forth a similar resolution in November, said she reworded the resolution to include the International Court of Justice language.
“We must have these conversations,” she said.
Councilman Tommy Smith told the meeting the council cares but the situation is “not our responsibility” He said the Parker motion “doesn’t bring unity.”
Parker’s motion failed for the lack of a second and some of the crowd shouted, “We hold you accountable” and “Cease fire now.” Mayor Kincannon halted the meeting for several minutes and the council left the room. Many of the Palestine supporters remained in the main assembly room.
The council moved on to other business and held a second public forum at the end of the meeting. One of the Palestine supporters asked to speak and then turned his back on the council and addressed the audience. Kincannon warned the man to turn and address the council but he refused. Security officers surrounded the speaker and he was escorted away from the podium. Shouting continued inside and outside the meeting room.