Athlete Feyisa Lilesa, who fears returning to Ethiopia, addressed members of the European Parliament one year after the start of the Oromo protests.

By Marthe van der Wolf (VOA News) |

It is now one year since persistent, sometimes violent anti-government protests started in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. How much closer are the Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, to achieving their demands for more political freedom and economic inclusiveness? Opposition activists addressed members of the European Parliament this week in Brussels.

Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa is the most famous supporter of the protests in his native Ethiopia. Feyisa, the silver medalist in this year’s men’s marathon in Rio, drew attention when he crossed his wrists at the finish line, a gesture to show solidarity with the protesters.

Feyisa, who now fears returning to Ethiopia, addressed members of the European Parliament one year after the start of the Oromo protests.

ALSO READ Newsweek: Can Ethiopia’s New Cabinet Address the Oromo Protests?

He said it will be disastrous if the current situation continues, adding that because all media is blocked in Ethiopia, he is using his visibility to get worldwide media attention by being a voice for his people.

Diaspora protests

Also at the European Parliament is Berhanu Nega, leader of the anti-government diaspora group Ginbot 7. He was sentenced to death in absentia and labeled a terrorist by the Ethiopian government for trying to overthrow the government.

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