As football star Cristiano Ronaldo played his first game since returning to Manchester United on Saturday, a plane flew over Old Trafford stadium with the name of his alleged rape victim, a Euronews reporter from the field reported. .
“Believe Kathryn Mayorga,” said the banner.
Mayorga says Ronaldo raped her in 2009, and the case reopened in 2019.
Ronaldo has denied the allegations.
“Let’s say NO to the culture of silence around the abuse of the football community. Engage your solidarity with Kathryn and the survivors,” the feminist campaign group behind the initiative wrote on Twitter.
“The football world has been silent on the claims, while admiring Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United,” Level Up said in a statement.
“There was almost a media blackout on this,” said Janey Starling, one of Level Up’s co-directors.
“Sexual violence is shrouded in silence and this is how it continues,” she told Euronews.
“We wanted to send a message to all powerful and wealthy men that they cannot act without impunity.”
“But it was also a message to all the survivors to say that we see you”, continued the activist. “So it was a message to the perpetrators and a gesture of solidarity with the victims as well.”
Starling said the event was funded by a fundraiser.
“A lot of male supporters donated, especially football fans. So there were a lot of feminist football fans going out there, which is particularly beautiful, ”she told Euronews.
“It won’t be the last you see from us,” she added.
Ronaldo got an unexpected return to United after 12 years when he was sold by Juventus last month.
The 36-year-old Portuguese striker has scored twice, taking Manchester United 2-1 against Newcastle.
The masses of United fans arriving at Old Trafford in their new shirts with Ronaldo on the back got what they hoped for when the line-up was revealed an hour before the Premier League game kicked off.