Spain’s most well known fiesta, San Fermin, got off to a later than expected start on Saturday.
A giant basque flag was hung from the town hall balcony in northern town Pamplona by a group trying to claim Basque independence, delaying the traditional mid-day start by almost twenty minutes.
However, with the lighting of the traditional firework – or chupinazo – the nine day celebration of drinking, religious processions, and most importantly bull running began.
Every morning at 8 am six bulls are released along a 1 km route to the bullring. Participants aim to get as close to the bulls as possible, but with no where to hide behind or take shelter, it can be a dangerous pursuit.
The festival has roots back to the fourteenth century and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Some though feel that the festival’s practices should be left in the past.
Anti-Bull-fighting activists staged a protest on Friday against the use of the forty eight bulls who will die as part of the celebration. Their members posed inside coffins with slogans such as: “Bulls die bloody deaths in Pamplona”.
The San Fermin festival has been targeted repeatedly in recent times by animal rights groups who disagree with the treatment of the bulls, both in the running and traditional bull fight when they reach the ring.