Several injured in first bull run of annual San Fermin festival

7th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The nine-day festival which opened on Sunday with a four-minute chase left eight people injured.

7 July 2008

PAMPLONA - Several people were injured Monday in the first bull run of the season in Pamplona, northern Spain, during the annual San Fermin festival, hospital sources said.

The disorderly four-minute chase featured lone bulls, some of which cornered runners.

Hundreds of runners jostled with each other. Eight people were taken to hospital. A young man was gored in the thigh. Most of the victims were injured while tripping and falling.

In the Saint Fermin bull runs, half a dozen fighting bulls are let loose on the winding streets of the old city centre.

Daredevil men known as mozos run alongside the bulls which weigh up to 700 kilogrammes, armed with nothing but folded newspapers. The animals make a 825-metre dash for the bullring, where they are killed in an evening bullfight.

The nine-day festival celebrated in honour of the city's patron Saint Fermin opened Sunday with the traditional firing of a rocket from the balcony of the city hall.

Up to a million tourists are expected to visit the city of 185,000 during the bull run season. Some of them participate personally in the bull runs, which were made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

The bull runs have claimed 14 lives since 1924. The most recent victim, a 62-year-old Spaniard, was killed in 2003. Hundreds of participants are injured every year.

Animal rights activists criticise the spectacle, saying that the bulls are stimulated with electric shocks and sharp sticks.

[dpa / Expatica]

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