Two people were gored by bulls following the opening ceremony of the annual San Fermin festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona. Another five were injured, officials said.
Six bulls were accompanied by tame bullocks as people ran the 850-meter course of cobbled streets from Santo Domingo in the city’s old quarter to the bull ring.
It took just two minutes and 41 seconds, but towards the end of the run, one of the animals stumbled, charging at the panicked onlookers who lined the street and goring at least one person. It is unclear what happened to the second victim.
The most seriously injured were treated last night at the main regional hospital, Red Cross spokesman Jose Aldaba confirmed.
Between 50 and 100 people are injured annually during the run, which has led to the deaths of fifteen people since the first recorded fatality in 1922.
It comes as the festival looks to move past controversy and opposition as animal rights groups call for the end of the bull fights that conclude each run.
Dozens of semi-naked activists from Spanish activist group AnimaNaturlis and animal rights group Peta staged a "die-in"– laying on the city’s streets to represent the 48 animals they say will be killed over the course of the festival.
Protests against the running of the bulls are expected to continue on the streets around the bullring.
In a petition against the practice, Peta described the nine-day San Fermin event as a “spectacle of torment”, adding “The mayor of Pamplona needs to stop this bloodbath.”
Across the festival the Spanish city draws in more than a million visitors for the Feast of San Fermin to witness the running of the bulls – a tradition popularised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.
The event has faced particular controversy this year following a national scandal surround the “wolf pack” rape case, which saw an 18-year-old woman was gang-raped at the festival in 2016.
Five men were arrested and found guilty of sexual abuse – a charge that was last month overturned by Spain’s Supreme Court in favour of the more serious sentence of rape.
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