Ángeles Béjar, the mother of suspended Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales, has locked herself in a church and proclaimed that she’s going on a hunger strike to protest the treatment of her son.
Via ESPN, Spanish news agency EFE reported that Béjar locked herself inside a Catholic church in Rubiales’ home town of Motril, Andalusia, and will continue her strike “indefinitely, day and night” until the “inhuman, bloodthirsty witch hunt which my son is being subjected to” comes to an end.
Rubiales has been under fire since Aug. 20, when the Spanish national women’s team won their first-ever World Cup and he forcibly kissed player Jenni Hermoso during the celebration without her consent. The incident was caught on the broadcast, which triggered an outcry from all over the world. Rubiales apologized the next day, but has continued to say the kiss was consensual — despite Hermoso herself saying the exact opposite, that she did not consent to the kiss.
Thus far, Rubiales has refused to resign. FIFA handed him a 90-day provisional suspension on Saturday, pending the outcome of their investigation into his conduct at the World Cup, which also included him saying in the locker room that he would marry Hermoso, and his crotch-grabbing post-whistle celebration.
Béjar is not alone inside the church of the Divine Shepherdess. Rubiales’ cousin, Vanessa Ruiz Béjar, spoke to Teledporte and said Béjar’s sister is inside with her. Rubiales’ cousin also accused Hermoso of changing her story several times, and blamed “feminists” and “television” for Rubiales’ predicament.
Since Rubiales kissed Hermoso without her permission, fellow athletes, fans and politicians have stood up for Hermoso, and those voices have only gotten louder since Rubiales stated that he would not resign. Members of Spain’s government have spoken up and taken action in support of Hermoso and called for Rubiales’ removal. The women’s national team has said that they will not play again until Rubiales is no longer the federation president. And the team’s entire 11-person coaching staff (minus head coach Jorge Vilda) unanimously resigned on Saturday after Rubiales refused to step down.