The annual San Fermin festival in Pamplona is underway, and so far, there have been three people gored during the opening bull run through the streets of the Spanish city.
According to AP News, two of the men that were gored are American. One was a 46-year-old man from San Fransisco, and the other was a 23-year-old man from Florence, Kentucky. Both were injured by bulls during the opening course.
The unnamed man from San Francisco was gored through the neck in the city’s bull ring, and his injuries required emergency surgery, according to a representative from the city government. The other man was gored in the thigh at the same time as a third man from Spain.
Two more injuries were listed during the opening run, but those are said to be head injuries from falls in the streets of the town.
The San Fermin festival lasts nine days, and each morning, six bulls are released to run through the streets, and then they are killed in afternoon bullfights. The festival attracts over 1 million spectators each year who gather, with some running through the streets with the charging animals.
The festival was glamorized by writer Ernest Hemingway in his novel, The Sun Also Rises.
As with any festival involving bullfights, protesters stormed the ring in San Fermin, reports The Daily Mail, to show their displeasure at the public and often slow killing of animals. Images were posted by PETA UK, captioned with the line, “Activists leap into bullring in Pamplona to protest cruel, barbaric bullfights on the first day of San Fermin festival.”
But bullfighting is covered under the Spanish Constitution, and are said to be part of the country’s cultural heritage, and so the city plans to continue the festival which began to honor the city’s first bishop, who was beheaded in France while preaching the gospel early in the third century.
Animal rights groups protesting have also become a regular occurrence in recent years, and on the eve of the festival, dozens of underdressed activists put on a performance simulating speared bulls lying dead on Pamplona’s cobbled streets to draw attention at what they see as animal cruelty for the sake of human entertainment.
The crowds largely wear white in the streets of the town, and red wine from animal skins is sprayed on the crowd, causing many of the scenes to be of people dyed purple and pink by the wine, reveling in the experience.