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Google employees arrested after protesting against tech giant’s work with Israel

Google employees protest at the office of Google Cloud
The workers protesting at Google's offices say they 'do not want their labour to power Israel's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza' - Twitter

A group of Google workers have been arrested after they held a sit-in protest to challenge the tech giant’s work for the Israeli government.

Employees from the No Tech For Apartheid movement organised a 10-hour sit-in at Google’s offices in New York and California on Tuesday.

During the protest, activists targeted the office of Thomas Kurian, the chief executive of Google Cloud, amid a row over a $1bn (£800m) contract with Israel.

Videos posted on social media showed nine protesters subsequently being removed by police.

This led to a spokesman for the protest group, Jane Chung, criticising Google in a post on X: “Google orders arrest against its workers for protesting.”

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A live-stream video of the incident at Google’s California office showed a security worker telling protesters that they had been placed on “admin leave”, while also warning them about trespassing.

Later footage shows California police officers moving into the office, asking protesters if they are “refusing to leave” before they are marched out in handcuffs.

A separate video from Google’s New York office also shows protesters being arrested.

Tuesday’s protests represent an escalation in the row between tech workers and executives over Google’s work in Israel.

Some staff members have long challenged a cloud computing agreement between the Israeli government, Google and Amazon, called Project Nimbus.

However, tensions have intensified in recent months following Israel’s invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7.

The conflict has left more than 1,200 Israelis and 34,000 Palestinians dead.

A statement from the No Tech For Apartheid protest group said: “Google workers do not want their labour to power Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The time is now to rise up against Project Nimbus, in support of Palestinian liberation and join calls to end the Israeli occupation.”

Last month, a Google worker from the protest group disrupted a talk being given by the company’s Israel chief, as he accused the company of “powering genocide”. He was later sacked.

Israel has rejected claims that it has committed genocide and has maintained it is acting in self-defence.

A Google spokesman said: “These protests were part of a longstanding campaign by a group of organisations and people who largely don’t work at Google. A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a couple of our locations.

“Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and we will investigate and take action. These employees were put on administrative leave and their access to our systems was cut. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety.”

No Tech for Apartheid, the NYPD, and Sunnyvale Police were all contacted for comment.