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Protests in Pamplona ahead of Spain's famous San Fermin bull running festival

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By Mark Armstrong
Protesters against abuse of bulls in Pamplona
Protesters against abuse of bulls in Pamplona

In northern Spain, animal rights activists staged a protest ahead of the country's internationally famous San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona that starts on Friday. Some wore bull masks and red smoke was used to symbolise the blood of the animals. Organisers say 66 bulls will be killed over the week-long fiesta.

"All the bulls that participate in the morning in the runs are driven directly in the afternoon to the bullring where they'll be tortured to death," claimed A´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´ida Gasc´´´´´´´´´´´´on, Director of AnimaNaturalis in Spain. "That's something that most people don't know and that's where the greatest and most bloody animal abuse at this kind of show happens".

San Fermin was was made famous in Ernest Hemingway's book 'The Sun also Rises'.The festival attracts people from around the world who want to experience the dangerous thrill of running though the streets of Pamplona with bulls. Some runners are injured and occasionally killed. But it's the treatment of the bulls that has led to an increase in protests in recent years from those who want to see a blood-free San Fermin.

Although Pamplona's mayor Joseba Asiron has said he is in favour of opening the debate to end bullfights in the festival, some locals cannot imagine the fiesta without bulls.