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The Independent News: Ethiopian state TV censors #Rio2016 Olympic marathon runner’s finishing line #OromoProtests August 22, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Athletic nation, Fayyisaa Lalisaa.
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Ethiopia’s state-owned TV network has refused to broadcast footage of one of its most successful Olympic athletes crossing the finishing line or receiving his medal after he staged a political protest against oppression back home.

Feyisa Lilesa won silver in the men’s marathon on the last day of events in Rio, making him Ethiopia’s joint second most successful performer after the country won just one gold in a disappointing campaign.

As he crossed the line on Sunday he raised his arms to form an “X”, a symbol of defiance that has been used by the Oromo people in Ethiopia as part of political protests against the government.

Lilesa repeated the act in a press conference after the race, and said he would repeat it at the medal ceremony later. He told reporters he faced being killed for doing so if he returns home after the Games.

EBC, the Ethiopian state broadcaster, was showing Lila’s race live on TV on Sunday afternoon. As such, it was unable to avoid airing his protest as it happened the first time.

But the moment he crossed the line was cut from subsequent bulletins and, unlike with its other champions, EBC refused entirely to show footage of Lilesa being given his silver medal.

Shown Live on TV “-n marathoner Fayisa shows protest gesture after winning Silver at http://debirhan.com/?p=10275 

Photo published for Ethiopian marathoner Fayisa shows gesture after winning Silver at #Rio2016

Ethiopian marathoner Fayisa shows gesture after winning Silver at #Rio2016

On its website, EBC carried a report on the result entitled “Ethiopia wins Silver medal in men’s marathon”.

While its online reports from other Rio events tended to show pictures of victorious athletes after they had finished competing, the Lilesa article was accompanied by an image of a group of the marathon runners halfway through the race.

Neither online nor on TV did the state-run broadcaster make direct reference to Lilesa’s protest.

The athlete is from Oromia, home to many of the 35 million Oroma people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. At the press conference, he said: “The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe. My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

Lilesa told reporters he would be killed or put in prison if he returned home, and said he feared for his wife and two children who are still in Ethiopia. He said he plans to try and stay in Brazil or make his way to the US.

Klick here to read more at Independent


1. Oromia: Athletic nation Report: Short poem (Rio) about Oromo Olympian Fayyisaa Lalisaa, the world icon of #OromoProtests (the call for social justice) | OromianEconomist - August 23, 2016

[…] The Independent News: Ethiopian state TV censors #Rio2016 Olympic marathon runner’s finishing line… […]

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