In a not-at-all surprising development, Google has fired the 28 workers who staged a sit-in protest Tuesday in a top executive’s office, all in protest of a billion-dollar contract Google has with the Israeli government during the Gaza conflict.

You pretty much figure you are going to get fired if you barricade yourself in your CEO’s office, hold up signs accusing your company of genocide, refuse to leave the office for nine hours until cops drag you out, and then splash these actions all over social media. And that is what happened Wednesday, as KPIX reports that Google fired the 28 employees allegedly involved in a Tuesday sit-in protest of the company’s $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government.


The lengthy thread above declares that “DOZENS OF @GOOGLE WORKERS LEAD HISTORIC COAST TO COAST-INS,” which presumably means “sit-ins,” though these were only “coast to coast” in the respect that they happened at two Google offices that are on opposite US coasts (New York and Sunnyvale). Video of the arrests can be seen online. But the protest organizer No Tech for Apartheid claims that some of the employees fired were not directly involved with the sit-ins, while Google is saying that many involved in the protests have no affiliation with Google.  



The office in the video is not that of Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, but instead that of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. CNBC reports that the protesters occupied that office for more than nine hours.

KTVU obtained a statement from Google on the matter. "These protests were part of a longstanding campaign by a group of organizations and people who largely don’t work at Google," a company spokesperson said. “A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a few of our locations. Physically impeding other employees' work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior."

For their part, No Tech for Apartheid posted online that “Google indiscriminately fired 28 workers, including those among us who did not directly participate in yesterday’s historic, bicoastal 10-hour sit-in 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.”

Tensions have been simmering for about three years over Google's and Amazon's $1.2 billion joint effort Project Nimbus, which provides the Israeli government with cloud and AI services. For what it's worth, a Google spokesperson told the New York Times that Project Nimbus “is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

The protests bring to mind the 2018 employee backlash against Project Maven, which provided AI services to the Pentagon, and Google scaled it back in response to their employees’ protests. But Google may have, shall we say, evolved philosophically since then, and those protests were not so brazen as to occupy a top executive’s offices in highly public fashion.

And considering that Google is very much in layoff mode right now, maybe these firings just make HR’s job easier for them.

Related: Yet Another Gaza Protest Shuts Down Major SF Financial District Intersection [SFNews]

Image: @NoTechApartheid via Twitter