Oromo fans, resentful of a group waving old-style national flags
october 3,2019(Dimtsi weyane) Ethiopian supporters who were, according to #Associated Press (AP), the loudest in the stadium at the track world championships in #Doha, Qatar, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, tried to drown each other out.
According to James Ellingworth, AP sports writer, Ethiopian spectators in the stadium waved two quite contradicting flags.
AP indicated that the fans at the #World Athletics Championships were divided into two rival political camps, one group displaying pictures of the past monarchs like Emperor Haile Selassie and flies an older version of the national flag, which does not represent all Ethiopians, and the other group waving the flag of the #Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), from a long-marginalized ethnic group, which produces many of the nation's great distance runners.
AP added that the world champion in 5,000 meters, #Muktar Edris, seemed to endorse them on Monday when he picked up and wore an OLF flag thrown to him by fans after winning gold that had disappeared when Edris arrived to speak with reporters, draped once again in the Ethiopian national flag.
According to AP, a team official refused to translate a question from ‘The Associated Press’ to Edris about the OLF flag, saying: "Athletes only represent their country, not a political party."
The divisions between fans were starker in the women's 10,000 on Saturday when #Sifan Hassan won gold for the Netherlands. She was born in Ethiopia's Oromia region but left as a teenage refugee before eventually gaining a Dutch passport. The OLF-supporting fans backed her, but others were left cold by an athlete not wearing Ethiopia's uniform, AP furthered.
At a stage, a group with the national flag moved down to the front of the stand to cheer Ethiopia's runners, antagonizing the nearby OLF supporters. Qatari police moved in to keep the groups separate as they called to each other.
In the #Khalifa International Stadium, some Oromo fans were resentful of the group waving old-style national flags, accusing them of ties to the Ethiopian embassy and of wanting a return to the monarchy, which Ethiopia abolished 45 years ago.
"This is #Oromia," said Kemal Ketubo, in the crowd with the OLF flags. "We are supporting our team, the national team of our people." Gesturing to the group with Ethiopian national flags, he said: "they want the 18th century like it was before."