Barcelona's final bullfight gets underway
The final bullfight to be held at Barcelona's last active bullring got underway Sunday before a ban on the centuries-old tradition takes effect in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region.
The sold-old crowd of 18,000 applauded and chanted "Freedom!" as the three matador who will spar with a total of six bulls -- two each -- entered the arena at the city's Monumental arena.
The first matador who stepped into the ring was 38-year-old Guan Mora. He will be followed by the legendary 36-year-old Nose Tome and the 28-year-old Catalan Serafin Marin, a fierce defender of the Spanish tradition.
Catalan regional members of parliament voted in July 2010 to ban bullfighting from January 1, 2012 after animal rights groups managed to garner 180,000 signatures for a petition demanding the debate.
It is the first region in mainland Spain to ban the tradition. Spain's Canary Islands banned bullfighting in 1991.
Bullfighting fans in Catalonia hope to reverse the decision: they plan to find 500,000 backers to present their own petition to the national parliament and classify the combat as a cultural asset.
If they can do so by the end of this year, bullfighting fans believe they can stop the ban taking effect.
© 2011 AFP