Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has now reportedly arrived in the U.S. after previously stating that he would seek asylum in the country, the BBC reported on Friday.
By Conor Gaffey |
Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympics, crossed his arms over his head as he finished the race. The gesture has become common among protesters in Oromia, a region of Ethiopia where hundreds of Oromo activists have been killed in recent months during clashes with security forces.
Lilesa repeated the gesture at a later press conference and during his medal ceremony, adding that he would likely be killed or imprisoned if he returned to the Horn of Africa country. Ethiopia’s information minister Getachew Reda told the BBC at the time that Lilesa would have nothing to fear if he returned home.
The runner has now reportedly arrived in the U.S. after previously stating that he would seek asylum in the country, the BBC reported on Friday. A crowdfunding campaign set up to fund Lilesa’s legal fees and support his family in Ethiopia has raised more than $160,000 in under three weeks after it was set up on August 21.
Protests began in Oromia—which is home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo people—in November 2015, as activists demonstrated against plans to expand the capital Addis Ababa. Protesters said the plans could result in forced evictions and repossession of land of Oromo farmers.
Continue reading this story on Newsweek
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- Feyisa Lelisa Support Fund Raised More Than $77,000 in Just 24 Hrs
- Getachew Reda: Athlete Feyisa Lilesa Shouldn’t at All Be Worried to Return
- 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