RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dozens of Wake County residents addressed Raleigh City Council and Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin on Tuesday at a packed public comment session that lasted more than two hours.
The vast majority of the 108 people who signed up to speak Tuesday called for city leadership to demand an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza, with pro-Israeli supporters speaking out at the event as well.
It led to a tense, two-plus hour session with the two sides trading frequent barbs -- leading the Mayor to threaten multiple times that she would cut the meeting short if those in attendance didn't rein it in.
"If you think I'm kidding, I'm not," Baldwin said at one point.
At another point, Councilor Mary Black, one of the two city councilmembers who has publicly supported a ceasefire, accused her colleagues of wanting to do just that.
"Please just try to follow what she's saying because they're really looking for any reason not to have this meeting -- as you've seen," Black said.
Protesters said an official ceasefire resolution -- that has already been drafted and sent to council -- is stuck on the City Attorney's desk pending review, fanning frustrations even further. Many of them called on council to follow Carrboro's lead, after the town passed a similar measure on Nov. 14.
"Palestine will be free," said Omar Nabuisi, one of the speakers Tuesday. "Don't be on the wrong side when it happens. Ceasefire now."
Others, meanwhile, pointed out that the issue of Middle East peace is beyond the purview of the council.
"This is not a foreign policy body, this is the Raleigh city council," said Adam Haller, who spoke in support of Israel.
Other pro-Israel supporters urged city leaders to move ahead with care and stand with the Triangle's Jewish population.
"Language matters," said Mindy Brodsky. "It's one thing to oppose or condemn Israeli policies or actions. It's a whole other story for our city council to declare that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing and genocide."
Dozens of speakers -- including those who attended Tuesday's session for unrelated purposes -- sharply criticized the city's decision to cut speaking time from the usual 3 minutes to 1 minute. City leaders said that the decision was made to accommodate the large crowd on hand.