Ethiopian runner made controversial X gesture as he crossed the finishing line, but the struggle of the Oromo is far from over
In a dark suit jacket and tieless white shirt, Feyisa Lilesa walked into the ballroom of a Washington hotel and crossed his wrists above his head. Several Ethiopians present burst into spontaneous applause.
For them, exiled far from home, the marathon man became a hero last month when he made the same X gesture as he crossed the finish line to win silver at the Rio Olympics. It was an audacious protest on one of the world’s biggest stages against the Ethiopian government’s persecution of the Oromo ethnic group, at huge risk to himself and his family.
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