Ethiopian athlete Tamiru Demisse, who competed on 1500m race at Rio 2016 Paralympics, echoes protest of fellow countryman Feyisa Lilesa, who has now fled to the US.
By Adam Withnall (The Independent) |
A runner has become the latest Ethiopian athlete to stage a political protest in Rio, after he crossed the finish line in a 1500m event at the Paralympics.
Tamiru Demisse, who was competing in the final of the T13 race for visually impaired runners, crossed his arms above his head as he crossed the line in second place, taking silver behind Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka.
The crossed-arms symbol is in reference to the political persecution of the Oromo ethnic group by the government back home, and echoed a similar gesture made by Feyisa Lilesa at the end of the marathon event in the Olympics.
Unlike Feyisa Lilesa, who was reminded by officials that the International Olympic Committee frowns upon political gestures at the Games, Tamiru Demisse also repeated the gesture during the ceremony to receive his medal.
Last month, Feyisa Lilesa explained that he he conducted his protest in response to the killing of the Oromo people, saying the government was “killing our people”.
He has now traveled to the US, after a crowd-funding campaign to support him and his family raised its target of $150,000. He said if he returned to Ethiopia “they will kill me… or if not kill me, they will put me in prison”.
Continue reading this story on The Independent
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- My Life Would Be in Danger If I Return Back to Ethiopia: Athlete Feyisa Lilesa
- Quebec City Marathon Winner Ebisa Ejigu Replicates Feyisa Lelisa’s Oromo Protest Gesture