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Ethiopian Officials Hit Back at Olympic Athlete Planning London Marathon Protest

Posted on 25 April,2017

The Ethiopian Embassy in London has hit back at exiled Ethiopian athlete Feyisa Lilesa, who vowed to protest against his country’s government at the London marathon on Sunday.

Olympic silver medallist Lilesa made headlines last year after he crossed his arms over his head at the Rio de Janeiro marathon—a symbol of resistance Oromo people widely used during anti-government protests last year—as he passed the finish line in the marathon race at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The 27-year-old told BBC’s Sport Today on Thursday that “blood is flowing” in Ethiopia.

Speaking to Newsweek, an Embassy spokesperson dismissed Lilesa’s remarks as “fairy tales.”

“The blood is not flowing,” the spokesperson said. “These are, as usual, unsubstantiated claims, a way to romanticize what happened.

“He [Lilesa] is entitled to express his opinion, he can say anything. He can return to Ethiopia and no-one would touch him. But the problem is that there are radical people behind this and the diaspora is using him for their own political agenda.”

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