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LATEST NEWS

  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Google fires 28 more staff after protests against cloud contract with Israel


Google has fired 28 employees following a sit-in protest over the tech giant's contract to provide cloud computing and artificial intelligence services to the Israeli government. The move comes a few days after 9 other employees were fired for their involvement in the saga.



The protests, organized by the group No Tech for Apartheid, took place at Google offices in California and New York, aiming to oppose the $1.2 billion contract known as Project Nimbus.

Videos of the demonstrations shared on social media showed police arresting employees in the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.


In response, Google stated that the protestors were disrupting business operations by physically impeding employees and preventing them from accessing company facilities which is an unacceptable behavior and a breach of policy.


"After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety," a Google spokesperson said. "We have so far concluded individual investigations that resulted in the termination of employment for 28 employees and will continue to investigate and take action as needed."


Google also denied that the contract was related to weapons or intelligence services.

In a blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a veiled warning to protesting employees.

"We have a culture of vibrant, open discussion that enables us to create amazing products and turn great ideas into action. That’s important to preserve. But ultimately, we are a workplace, and our policies and expectations are clear: This is a business and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics," Pichai said. "This is too important a moment as a company for us to be distracted."


No Tech for Apartheid accused Google of retaliation, adding that the company even fired staff who were not involved in the protests.


"This flagrant act of retaliation is a clear indication that Google values its $1.2 billion contract with the genocidal Israeli government and military more than its own workers. In the three years that we have been organizing against Project Nimbus, we have yet to hear from a single executive about our concerns," the group said in a statement posted on Medium.

No Tech For Apartheid also refuted claims that protesters had defaced property and physically impeded other employees' work, describing these claims as a "lie."


"Even the workers who were participating in a peaceful sit-in and refusing to leave did not damage property or threaten other workers. Instead, they received an overwhelmingly positive response and shows of support," the group wrote.


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