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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Thousands run with Pamplona bulls
The opening bull run
The bulls face the matadors in the afternoon
Thousands of runners have risked the horns of fighting bulls on the first day of Pamplona's popular bull party.

People from around the world, many clad in red and white, took part in the run through the cobblestone streets of the northern Spanish city.

Eight people were injured, none of them seriously, as they tried to keep ahead of the five bulls during the 825m run.

The San Fermin festival continues for a week, with morning bull runs, afternoon bullfights and all-night parties.

Overcrowding

Each morning at 0800 (0600 GMT), up to six bulls and a number of steers are released from a pen into a closed-off street.

They are then run the 825m to the bullring, where they will face matadors later in the day. The run usually takes between two and three minutes.

The festival - which has been held since 1591 - was made internationally popular by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

It has been the target of protests by animal rights protesters, who say bull running is cruel.

On Monday, about 300 activists, wearing only their underwear, protested against the event.

The growing popularity of the event also puts the runners at greater risk due to overcrowding, critics say.

Since record-keeping began in 1924, at least 13 people have been killed.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Laura Talbot reports
"Onlookers line the route to try to get a glimpse"



SEE ALSO:
Protest over Pamplona's bull run
05 Jul 04  |  Europe
Gored Briton bemoans his 'bravado'
13 Jul 03  |  England


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