Wife of Olympic protester: ‘Scared but not surprised by protest’
(Advocacy for Oromai, 26 August 2016) The family of the Ethiopian runner who is planning to seek asylum in the US after staging a protest at the Olympic Games in Rio has been speaking to the Reuters news agency from their home in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Feyisa Lelisa’s wife Iftu Mulisa spoke about how she felt when her husband crossed his arms at the finish line in solidarity with protesters from the Oromo ethnic group:
I was very scared at the time but I wasn’t surprised because I know him. He was burning inside when he sees on social media all these dead bodies… people being beaten and people being arrested. So I was not surprised because I know he had a lot of anger inside.”
His daughter Soko Feyisa had a brief message for her father, currently in Rio while lawyers prepare his US asylum request:
Baba I miss you, where are you?”
And his mother Biritu Fulasa cast doubt on the government’s assertion that her son would be treated as a hero if he returned to Ethiopia:
Do you really believe what the government is saying? I don’t believe so. He should stay there. I would have liked him to come but what can I do? I was crying too much the other day but now I am feeling better. I want him to stay there.”