Spanish festival of San Fermin gets underway amid protests

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The famous Spanish festival of San Fermin was declared open in Pamplona – 155km south-east of Bilbao – on Sunday.

The traditional ‘Chupinazo’ rocket was fired from a balcony, signalling a start to festivities.

This year, the president of the local Red Cross committee was given the honour of lighting the rocket to mark 150 years of the organisation.

Thousands of tourists from around the world come every year to join in the throwing of red wine, running in the streets with the bulls and watching the traditional bullfights.

However not everyone is in favour of the bullfights. Protesters took to the streets daubed in fake blood and carrying signs in various languages which said “You Run. Bulls Die.”

They argue they want tourists to know that what may look like harmless fun ends in huge suffering for the bulls.

All of the 48 bulls which run through the streets in the mornings are later killed in the bullring in a long, drawn-out process where they are speared and stabbed.

The official bullfighting begins on Monday (July 7), and the festival lasts for nine days.

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