Feyisa Lilesa’s dangerous victory gesture

Feyisa Lilesa’s dangerous victory gesture

Feyisa Lilesa’s dangerous victory gesture

Written by Tharushan Fernando

24 Aug, 2016 | 3:28 pm

To those watching the Olympics the Men’s marathon on Sunday it was admirable feat when Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa as he crossed the line to win silver.

But the 26 year-old made a gesture that most would’ve brushed off as a standard gesture celebration, was in-fact a a defiant stance. Those aware of the current Ethiopian political situation his arms sent a clear message of solidarity with the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group numbering some 40 million

Lilesa made a cross over his head with his forearms as he clocked in at 2 hours, 9 minutes and 54 seconds at the end of the race, and repeated it again during a press conference after the event

The gesture could mean danger for Feyisa Lilesa but in a courageous stance he has drawn global attention to the recent governement killing of hundreds of protesters

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that around 400 people have been killed since November 2015 by security forces during the anti-government protests. The rallies have been against the the now-abandoned plans to expand Addis Ababa into neighboring Oromo regions, have been met with an increasingly violent response.

HRW states that thousand have been injured while scores more arrested in addition to the deaths with many being beaten and kicked.

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