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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 July, 2003, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Naked protest at Spain bull run
Police stop animal rights protesters from starting a Running of the Nudes mock bullrun in Pamplona
Some campaigners broke past police to complete the bull run naked
Animal rights activists have stripped naked to protest against the running of bulls through the northern Spanish city of Pamplona.

Activists from all over Western Europe had planned to run nude along the route for the annual event, which begins on Sunday, but police said the protest was unauthorised and blocked their way.

But about 20 men and women managed to breach the police cordon near the city centre and stripped off completely.

Some of the demonstrators put on plastic horns or fake bull's heads, Reuters news agency reported.

They were joined by scores of other protesters who kept on all or part of their clothing.

"Unnecessary cruelty"

Sean Gifford of the US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group told Reuters he organised the protest to prevent cruelty.

"In the running of the bulls, you have terrified animals slipping and sliding along the cobbled stone streets. Many of them suffer from broken bones," he said.

"At the end of that terrified stampede, a gruesome death in the bullfighting ring awaits them."

"Many of the bulls suffer broken bones
Sean Gifford, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
He added that about 40,000 bulls are killed in Spanish bullrings every year.

The traditional San Fermin festival begins in Pamplona on Sunday, heralding a week of events that attract thousands of tourists.

Pamplona residents seemed unmoved by the protest.

"San Fermin festivals without bulls would be meaningless," Isabel Lopez, a 33-year-old clinic worker, told Reuters.

Young activists from various European countries and the United States took part in a similar naked protest last year.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Raphael Jesurum
"The protest carries little weight with the locals"



SEE ALSO:
Bull-running fiesta begins
06 Jul 01  |  Europe
Pamplona bull run injures 21
08 Jul 00  |  Europe
Head to head: The Pamplona bull run
08 Jul 99  |  In Depth


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