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Alphabet Fires Employees Over Israel Protest

Google parent company Alphabet (GOOG/GOOGL) has fired 28 employees after they protested the company’s contract to provide the Israeli government and military with cloud computing and artificial intelligence (A.I.) services.

Several of the terminated employees were also arrested and charged with trespassing after they staged a sit-in at Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thomas Kurian’s office.

An all-staff memo sent by Chris Rackow, Google’s vice-president of global security, stated that the company “…will continue to investigate and take action as needed” related to the protests.

Staff were reportedly protesting “Project Nimbus,” Google and Amazon’s (AMZN) joint $1.2 billion U.S. contract that provides the Israeli government and military with cloud computing services, including A.I. tools, data centres, and cloud infrastructure.

Protesters sat in Kurian’s office for nine hours until they were arrested, writing demands on Kurian’s whiteboard and wearing shirts that read “Googler against genocide.”

The claims of genocide refer to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas, which carried out deadly attacks on Israel last October, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostage.

Israel has since declared war against Hamas and attacked the militant group in Gaza where it is based, cutting off access to power, food, water and fuel.

At least 33,899 people have been killed in Gaza to date, according to official estimates.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense reportedly uses Google Cloud services to conduct surveillance in Gaza.

The stock of Alphabet has risen nearly 50% over the last 12 months and currently trades at $155.47 U.S. per share.