Google fired 28 employees Wednesday after they participated in protests against Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud contract with Israel’s government that also includes Amazon.

Workers at both companies have claimed the deal makes advanced technology available to Israel’s security apparatus that could contribute to the killing and harming of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. The Intercept and Time have reported that Project Nimbus provides services that can be tapped by the Israel Defense Forces.

The 28 firings, confirmed by Google, come hours after nine employees were detained by police late Tuesday for sit-in protests in the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in Sunnyvale, California, as well as a company office in New York. All nine of those workers were fired, in addition to 19 other protest participants.

Google spokesperson Anna Kowalczyk said in a statement that the employees were terminated after “internal investigation” concluded they were guilty of “physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities.” She added that “after refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety.” The Nimbus contract is “not directed” at classified or military work, she said.

Tuesday’s action against Project Nimbus comes after the reported death toll from the IDF’s offensive on Hamas in Gaza has climbed to more than 34,000 Palestinians. The military offensive began after Hamas killed about 1,100 Israelis on October 7.

The sit-ins at Google were accompanied by protests of more than 100 people—including many Google workers—outside company offices in New York, Sunnyvale, and Seattle. Google’s Kowalczyk characterized the participation by employees as “a small number.”

Google’s workforce comprises the vast majority of employees of parent Alphabet, which reported a headcount of more than 180,000 employees at the end of 2023. Several protesters at Google’s New York office told WIRED that they have support within the company beyond those who directly participated in Tuesday’s protest.

Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid—the coalition of tech workers and Muslim- and Jewish-led activist groups MPower Change and Jewish Voice for Peace that organized the protests—says that some workers who were fired had been involved in much less provocative action than those who occupied offices.

Some, she said, had simply attended an outdoor protest and taken a T-shirt handed out by organizers. Others were “flyering outside, standing near the protesters for safety.”

Zelda Montes, a now-former YouTube software engineer who says they were arrested after occupying Google’s New York office for more than 10 hours, accuses the company of breaching US legal protections for workers.

“It’s so clear that Google is engaging in illegal behavior to deter our labor organizing by retaliating against workers who weren’t arrested,” Montes says. “I’m disappointed at just how evil Google can be, but not surprised. They’re more outraged by employees peacefully sitting in than at how their technology is murdering people.”

Late Wednesday night, Google sent a company-wide email with the subject line, “Serious consequences for disruptive behavior.” It does not explicitly mention Israel, Gaza, or the contract name, but addresses “reports of protests” and says that nine employees were arrested and 28 were fired.

“The overwhelming majority of our employees do the right thing,” the email says. “If you’re one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again.”

Updated 4/18/2024, 10:15 am ET: Added details about a company-wide email Google sent out on Wednesday night.