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Protesters urge Madrid to adopt debate on bullfighting ban

One hundred protesters gathered Sunday in front of Madrid’s Las Ventas arena, demanding the Spanish regional government to debate a ban on banning bullfighting.

Stripped down to their underwear and with their bodies painted red and black, protesters lay on the ground in front of the arena, and formed the image of a slaughtered bull.

They urged the regional parliament to open up debate on banning the centuries-old tradition, just as the Catalonian government did on July 28, and presented a petition with 51,600 signatures supporting the ban.

A minimum of 50,000 signatures is required in order for the regional parliament to examine the popular legislative initiative (ILP) which calls for an end to bullfighting.

“The ILP is the best expression of democracy because these are the citizens who are proposing changes in the legislation,” said Maria Esteban, president of the group “Torture is not culture”, which organised the demonstration.

She said preventing such views from being expressed in parliament would be an “arrogant and cowardly act.”

The launch in March of the campaign to collect signatures was followed by a large demonstration on March 28, where thousands of animal rights activists urged an end to bullfighting.

The same month, Madrid’s right-leaning regional government said it intended to list bullfighting as a cultural heritage, in order to protect it.

The ban in Catalonia is effective from 2012.