Feyisa Lilesa (photo credit: http://meltnews.com)

Feyisa Lilesa (photo credit: http://meltnews.com)

For Feyisa Lilesa, the Oromo marathoner who won a silver medal for Ethiopia at the Rio Olympics, his thoughts go to friends and family dying and disappearing in anti-government protests.

Lilesa grew up running 7km to school and back in his home state of Oromia, the protest epicentre, and it is hard for him to forget where he came from.

Ethiopia protests: Fire and gunshots reported at jail

“Even when I practised, personally my legs were running but my mind was also racing, preoccupied by the suffering all around me,” he told Al Jazeera’s The Stream through a translator Monday in Washington, DC.

“All this has been on my mind for a very, very long time.”

Oromo youth tired of being Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group yet treated like second-class citizens, have been protesting for nearly a year.

Read more at: Al Jazeera

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