The International Paralympic Committee sternly rebuked silver medalist Tamiru Demisse, 22, for making a political statement at the Games on men’s 1,500m race.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP)―The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) reprimanded a visually impaired Ethiopian runner Monday for crossing his arms above his head at the finish line, a protest against alleged rights abuses by his government.
The protest by Tamiru Demisse, the silver medalist in the men’s 1,500m in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, comes after fellow Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa made headlines during the Olympics last month when he made a similar protest as he claimed silver in the men’s marathon.
The gesture — a sort of X above the head — is a symbol of defiance against the Ethiopian government’s crack-down on anti-government protests that started in the Oromia region in November last year.
Human Rights Watch estimates the Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 people involved in the protests.
But the International Paralympic Committee sternly rebuked Tamiru Demisse, 22, for making a political statement at the Games.
“He’s been told very, very clearly that political statements are definitely (forbidden)… in the Paralympics Games, as they are in the Olympic Games. It’s been made very, very clear to him that this must not be done again,” said IPC president Philip Craven.
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