June 21, 2024

Pro-Palestinian sentiments served as the majority at a “Healthcare for Gaza” protest on June 5 outside of Cleveland Clinic’s Sheila and Eric Samson Pavillion on Chester Avenue. Starting around 5 p.m., protesters, hospital employees and residents, and community members held signs, yelled chants and gave speeches.

Protesters could be heard yelling chants such as “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.”


Protesters and anti-protesters hold signs toward cars on Chester Avenue on June 5 outside of Cleveland Clinic. 

Cleveland Clinic Police Department took the lead on any police involvement and could be seen on bicycles and in cars in the surrounding area to ensure the protest remained safe.

Over 100 people joined the protest, with seven people in support of Israel across the street on Chester Avenue. Vehicles driving by could be heard honking in support of the protest.


Seven anti-protesters in support of Israel wave flags and play audio from a speaker on June 5 on Chester Avenue across from Cleveland Clinic, where Pro-Palestinian supporters held a protest.

In an emailed statement to the Cleveland Jewish News prior to the protest, Angela Smith, senior director of corporate communications, said, “The planned demonstration near the Health Education Campus is not in any way associated with Cleveland Clinic. While we have no authority to prevent a demonstration near our campus, Cleveland Clinic Police and other law enforcement will be closely monitoring and patrolling during the event to maintain the safety of our caregivers, visitors and patients.”

About 20 minutes into the protest, attendees started to set up a tent, and when a police officer told them “if that’s a tent, you can’t have that here,” one individual responded, “It’s not a tent.” A Cleveland Clinic official watching the protest told the officer if they put up the tent, to take it down right after, but an hour into the protest, the tent was still standing.


Protesters hold signs and chant in front of Cleveland Clinic.

One speaker said the rally was organized by health care workers from all over Northeast Ohio because “we still can’t get these health care organizations to understand this is a genocide.”

Toward the end of the protest, attendees gathered in the road on Chester Avenue, blocking at least two lanes of traffic until leaving.

Smith said in a June 6 email to the CJN that as health care providers, “we care for all people,” regardless of their personal beliefs related to religion, politics, culture and values. Smith also said no arrests were made.


Protesters set up a tent in anticipation of rain on June 5 outside of Cleveland Clinic. 

When asked if any Cleveland Clinic health care worker would be disciplined for protesting, she said, “Anyone participating in the demonstration did so on a personal level only. Their participation does not represent the health system.”

The protest, because it was not sponsored or endorsed by Cleveland Clinic, should not affect philanthropic efforts, Smith said.

“We proactively engaged with several donors and key stakeholders to make sure they understood that we were not involved,” Smith said in the email. “We appreciate their support and understanding.”

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