Four injured in first 2014 Pamplona bull run

The first bull run of the 2014 edition of Pamplona's famous San Fermín festival concluded on Monday with one person being gored by a bull and three others receiving fractures.

Four injured in first 2014 Pamplona bull run
A Torrestrella's bull falls during the first bull-run of the San Fermin Festival, on Monday, in Pamplona, northern Spain. . Photo: Ander Gillenea/AFP

The wild run through the streets of Pamplona kicked off at 8am, lasting just 25 seconds as people, with many wearing traditional white clothing and red neckerchiefs, scrambled to avoid getting caught on bull horns. 

One 52-year-old man was injured after a bull gored him in the thigh, while three others received fractures, Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper reported.

Last year 50 people were taken to hospital at the festival's eight runs, including 23 revellers caught in a bloody human pile-up on the final day of the fiesta.

Several hundred more were treated for minor injuries at the scene. Most injuries are not caused by bull horns but by runners falling, or being knocked over or trampled by the animals.

Fifteen people have been killed in the bull runs since records started in 1911.

The most recent death took place four years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.

In a bid to stop such incidents, Pamplona's city hall has this year introduced fines of up to €60,000 euros ($82,000) for those that violate rules intended to minimize the risk of the bull runs.

Using a camera during a bull run or taking part while drunk are among the acts prohibited under a new city ordinance.

"We have a problem since there are people who enter the bull run who don't really know what a bull run is," Pamplona city councillor Fermin Alonso, who is responsible for cultural activities, told news agency AFP.

"Pamplona police have to remove from the course drunk people, people who wear sandals instead of running shoes. To correct these situations we have established some norms and fines."

Monday's event saw the first such fine being imposed after a British veteran of the event was penalized for crossing the orange waiting line at the beginning of the bull run, according to Basque television broadcaster Eitb.

The city of 300,000 residents expects the festival, made famous worldwide by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises", will draw between 750,000 and over one million visitors.

Ana Caroaizcorbe, 43, has returned to the festival for the first time since she was a child.

"It seems much more massive now… but the bull runs, the religious acts, I think they still have a traditional character," she said.

Over 150 animal rights campaigners daubed themselves in fake blood and stood in Pamplona's main square on Saturday holding signs that read in several languages: "You Run. Bulls Die."

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Running of the bulls: Pamplona’s San Fermin cancelled over coronavirus

Spain’s most famous running of the bulls fiesta has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus.

Running of the bulls: Pamplona's San Fermin cancelled over coronavirus
Social distancing just wouln´t be possible at San Fermin. Photo: AFP

San Fermin is celebrated each July in the northern city of Pamplona, Navarra, but the fiesta which draws crowds of a million revellers will not be taking place this summer.

Pamplona’s city council officially announced news of the cancellation of the event on Tuesday, confirming what many regular festival goers had suspected.

The festival, which kicks off on July 6th attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, who cram into the Navarran capital for the eight-day long non-stop party, which involves religious parades, concerts, bullfights as well as the daily ‘encierros’ or bull runs.

Each morning at 8am crowds of runners traditionally dressed in white with red pañuelos and sashes await the release of six Spanish fighting bulls and six steers, who race through the narrow cobbled streets to the bullring.

Crowds squeezed into the sqaure infront of the town hall for the chupinazo marking the start of the fiesta: Photo: AFP

Similar encierros take place in towns across the Basque region but Pamplona's San Fermin is the biggest and most famous after being immortalised in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises”.

“As expected as it was, it still leaves us deeply sad,” said acting mayor Ana Elizalde when announcing the inevitable news that the festival could not be carried out with social distancing measures in place.

She was unable to say whether it might be held at a later date, given the unpredictability of the coronavirus health crisis.

“It seems complicated to celebrate San Fermin (at all) this year, but we will wait to see how events evolve”, she said.

Photo: AFP

It is not the only time in its history that the fiesta has been cancelled. It was also suspended in 1937 and 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, and had to be cancelled a third time in 1978 after a student was shot during clashes between police and protesters calling for an independent Basque region. 

Deirdre Carney, an American now living in Spain who has has attended the fiesta since childhood, said: “The last time San Fermin was called off was the year I was born. My father was there and he and his friends were holed up in their hotel for a few days to avoid the rioting.

“That was 42 years ago, and it is completely shocking to the people of Navarra and everyone who loves the festival to have this happen again. Of course everyone understands why, and that there was no other choice, but we are nonetheless very saddened. The fiesta is a celebration of life and joy, so we will return next year and it will be even more meaningful than ever.”