Protesters repeatedly disrupted a top Amazon executive’s presentation at a tech conference

Werner Vogels

A group of protesters repeatedly interrupted an Amazon tech conference on Thursday.
Multiple people stood up and shouted during the first half hour of the keynote, in protest of Amazon’s dealings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Hundreds of protestors also blocked traffic outside of the venue.
The exec on stage, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, even took a moment to respond, before moving back to his talk about cloud computing services.
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Amazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, held a tech conference in New York on Thursday where it announced some new products.

But a group of anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protesters repeatedly disrupted the keynote talk given by AWS CTO Werner Vogels.

Protesters at various times stood up and yelled about children being separated from their families at the border, and about Amazon’s dealings with ICE.

Am I the only one who didn’t know that Amazon helps ICE track, detain and deport immigrants? I just googled to make sure and there are news reports going back to at least June 2018.

Protests at the AWS Summit in NYC today. #iceraids

— Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) July 11, 2019

Others yelled, “break ties with ICE.”

NOW: Fourth group at #awssummit2019 demands that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels (and the whole company) break ties with rogue ICE and Trump’s deportation machine! #NoTech4ICE

— Make the Road NY 🦋 (@MaketheRoadNY) July 11, 2019

Security escorted them out.

At one point, Vogels acknowledged the situation saying: I’m more than willing to have a conversation, but maybe they should let me finish first,” reports ZDNet’s Natalie Gagliordi. “We’ll all get our voices heard.”

Interestingly, on the livestream of the keynote viewed by Business Insider, the audio muted the protesters’ voices.

Last year’s version of the New York event was the subject of protests as well, but this year, there were more people and more disruption.

Those that came to hear about AWS’s new products and services thought Vogels “handled it respectfully” — at least, according to Stu Miniman, host of a tech video streaming program called theCUBE.

Outside the venue this year, the protests were even bigger, with hundreds of people disrupting New York traffic, according to ABC7NY.

The protesters took issue that big-data company Palantir, which has acknowledged it works with the Homeland Security Investigations unit of ICE, reportedly uses AWS’s cloud services. This relationship was outlined in a protest letter sent to management by Amazon employees last year, and again in a letter circulating around Amazon this week.

Read: Microsoft has caused an uproar among its partners by canceling one of their favorite perks: software for their own use

The protestors also took issue with Amazon’s sales of its Rekognition facial recognition technology to police and other government agencies, as revealed by emails between Amazon and various government officials obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundations.

Another email, obtained last year by

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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