Hundreds of people protested in Colombia’s capital Bogota on Wednesday to demand “freedom for bullfighting.”
Bogota bullfighters who have been on hunger strike over a municipal ban on bullfighting were joined by afficionados and professionals from Mexico and Spain.
The international manifest counted with the presence of famed international bullfighting figures such as Sebastian Castella, El Juli, Lui Bolivar, Antonio Caballero and Cesar Rinon.
“This (Santamaria Bullfighting Ring) is my symbol. And it is the symbol of freedom and the bullfighting freedom.” Rincon was quoted as saying by Bogota newspaper El Tiempo.
Mayor Gustavo Petro banned bullfighting in Colombia’s capital in 2012. Taking advantage of the fact that the famous bullring Plaza de Toros Santamaría is owned by the state, he suspended the contract with the Bullfighting Corporation of Bogota until 2015.
The banning of the Santamaria bullring caused controversy across the country and bullfighting supporters have protested against the Mayor’s decision ever since. The situation took a turn for the worse when eight bullfighters commenced a hunger strike in August.
In spite of Petro’s decision, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the Bullfighting Corporation of Bogota in September, reinstating its license to organize bullfighting events in the capital.
“This is the despair of businessmen who want to earn some money, but we comply with the Constitutional Court” responded Petro to the Court’s decision, according to Caracol Radio.
The Bogota bullring is yet to be re-opened and and impatient bullfighting supportes protested in the attempt of putting pressure on the capital’s mayor to comply with the Court’s decision.
In Madrid, bullfighting organizations mobilized hundreds on the capital’s street, reading a manifesto called “From Madrid, we are looking up to Bogota” in which the organizations expressed their support and admiration to the Colombian protesters and the eight bullfighters on hunger strike in particular.
“Thank you for being able to wake up the world of bullfighting; Thanks for being an example not only for the bullfighters, but for young people in a society that lacks values as well; you have shown that the effort is worthwhile, that sacrifice is able to unite continents and with dedication and commitment as it should be in the struggle to achieve the dreams,” said the manifesto of Spain’s bullfighting organization.
- Petro dice que empresarios taurinos están desesperados por ganar ‘platica’ (Caracol Radio)
- Manifiesto de MADRID mira a BOGOTÁ (Manifesto of the Union de Criadore de Lidia)
- Los taurinos se unen por primera vez a favor de la libertad de ir a los toros (El Pais)