Bullfighting's return sparks protests in Bogota

Animal-rights activists take to the streets after the Colombian capital hosts its first bullfight in four years.

    Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of the Colombian capital for the second successive week, protesting against the return of bullfighting to the city. 

    Bogota hosted its first bullfight in four years last Sunday, with animal-rights protests ending in violence.

    Some 3,000 policemen have now been deployed and barricades set up outside the bullring to separate protesters from spectators.

    "We are talking about peace in the country and in the meantime, there are people who get together to slowly kill an animal as if we are still in the 18th century," Natalia Parra, a protester, told Al Jazeera, referring to reconciliation efforts between the government and the country's FARC rebels. 

    Bogota's previous mayor outlawed bullfighting in 2012. But the constitutional court later overturned the ban, ruling that it was part of Colombia's cultural heritage and could not be blocked.

    The current Mayor Enrique Penalosa has said that while he sides with animal-rights activists, he has no choice but to enforce the High Court's ruling.

    A new case is expected to be heard in court that could see the sport banned nationwide.

    Al Jazeera's Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from Bogota, said that the court battle could continue for months as it has become a political as well as a class struggle between mostly young leftist people protesting against the sport, and what is seen as a rich elite that supports the old tradition.

    Every year, approximately 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights worldwide, according to US-based Humane Society International.

    Catalonia's Last Bullfight - Al Jazeera World

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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