A 23-year-old Australian woman was gored today, the eighth and final day of the annual bull running festival in Pamplona. She was the second person to be seriously injured this year, after a 19-year-old Spanish man was trampled on Saturday.
The man was injured when a door to the bull ring was not fully opened, creating a bottleneck where bulls – some of which weigh up to 650kg – and runners collided with one other after the traditional early morning dash through Pamplona’s narrow medieval streets.
The festivities, in honour of the Navarre region’s patron Saint Fermin, date back to the 13th century but were made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.
Fifty people were taken to hospital this year for injuries arising from the bull runs, six of them gored. Not even the risk of death – the last fatality was in 2009 – deters the crowds who return every year for a week of partying.
But what increasingly worries Spaniards are scenes of women being doused in wine, having their clothes torn off and being groped in public.
Fátima Frutos, a local government equality officer in Villava, a suburb of Pamplona, said she had to step up efforts to prevent violence during the festival, which includes her being on call to treat victims and giving advice on local television.
“It’s not just about the amount of booze drunk, but local men and tourists think they can take advantage of the crowds to overstep the mark with women, and get away with it,” Ms Frutos said. “Hemingway made this a world renowned festival, but the reputation for festive good fun could go down the drain if sexist aggression continues and gets worse. Women tourists will stop coming.”
Video: Man gored during bull race