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After winning silver medal in marathon, Ethiopian runner raises arms in protest
Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa. AFP PHOTO / Adrian Dennis / Getty Images

By Kevin Sieff

NAIROBI — When he crossed the Olympics marathon finish line, Feyisa Lilesa put his hands above his head in an “X.” Most of those who watched Lilesa’s spectacular silver medal performance didn’t know what that meant — or just how dangerous a protest they were watching.

Lilesa was protesting the Ethiopian government’s killing of hundreds of the country’s Oromo people — an ethnic majority that has long complained about being marginalized by the country’s government. The group has held protests this year over plans to reallocate Oromo land. Many of those protests ended in bloodshed. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed since November.

For months, the Oromo have been using the same “X” gesture that Lilesa, 26, used at the finish line.

At a news conference following the race, he reiterated his defiant message.

Read the full story here 

Rio Olympic Games 2016 Live Updates

The 2016 Olympic Games run from Aug. 5 through Aug. 21 in Rio de Janeiro. Throughout, we will be chronicling the latest news and more from our reporters in Rio and Washington.

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