August 26,2016Reuters video of interview with Feyisa Lilesa’s mother and his wife
Ethiopian athletes who took part in the Rio Olympic returned back to Ethiopia this past Tuesday. It’s only Feyisa Lilesa – Rio Olympic Marathon silver medalist- who refused to return to Ethiopia after he showed protest signs by crossing his arm wrist over his head as he was crossing the finishing line.
He showed the protest sign in a deliberate move to express solidarity to what came to be known as Oromo protest – a protest by Ethiopia’s demographically largest ethnic group , and in opposition of killings of civilian protesters.
The ruling party in Ethiopia started a campaign like lobby to return Feyisa Lilesa to Ethiopia. Yet,when reporting about the event, state television, EBC, didn’t even show footage of Feyisa Lilesa crossing the finishing line.
Despite government “safety assurance,” Feyisa said he will be killed if he returned. Feyisa’s mother spoke out today in an interview with Reuters.
Referring to “safety assurance, “Do you really believe what the government is saying?” questioned Feyisa Lilesa’s mother. And she answered it herself,” I don’t believe so. he should stay there.”
Reuters journalist also spoke to Feyisa’s wife. From the interview, seems like she knew that he was going to do what he did and that she told him not to do it , and if he decided to do it not to come back. Feyisa has got two children.
Feyisa is still in Brazil. Ethiopians raised more than $100,000 via “GoFundMe” in just a little over one day. Lawyers based in the US proceeded to Brazil in a show of support to his claim for asylum.