Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa marked his silver medal in the Olympics men's marathon on Sunday by staging a dramatic protest against his country's government, claiming his life could be in peril.
Lilesa, who was second to Kenyan favoutite Eliud Kipchoge, crossed his arms above his head as he finished the gruelling event as a protest against the Ethiopian government's crackdown on political dissent.
"I have relatives in prison back home," he said.
"If you talk about democracy they kill you. If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me, or put me in prison.
"It is very dangerous in my country. Maybe I have to go to another country. I was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom."
Human rights groups say that Ethiopian security forces have killed scores of people in recent weeks as authorities crack down on a wave of anti-government unrest in two key regions, central-western Oromia and Amhara in the north.
Many across the world tweeted their support to the Ethiopian athlete,
— Alex Howard (@digiphile) August 21, 2016
Feyisa Lilesa just won a silver medal for Ethiopia. Then he protested his government's killing of the Oromo people. pic.twitter.com/jikV9VwIKo
— Kevin Sieff (@ksieff) August 21, 2016
— Live From Mogadishu (@Daudoo) August 21, 2016
— Mohammed Ademo (@OPride) August 21, 2016
— Solome (@Solitti) August 21, 2016
what an amazing moment ! Kudos to #Feyisa_Lilesa for showing a solidarity to the protests against the brutal regime ! You're truly a hero !
— Abraham ab™ (@abrahamabr2) August 21, 2016
— Selamawit Adugna (@selseladu) August 21, 2016
With inputs from AFP
Published Date: Aug 22, 2016 11:36 AM | Updated Date: Aug 22, 2016 11:36 AM