Tensions at Barcelona's first bullfighting corrida since the ban

Groups for and against the bullfighting prohibition clash in front of Barcelona's only bullring just days after the Catalan Parliament decided to ban the fiesta


August 2, 2010 10:58 PM

Usual tensions between pro-bullfighting groups and anti-corrida activists in Barcelona intensified this weekend, following the Catalan Parliament’s decision to ban the killing of bulls. People in favour of the fiesta protested against the ban. They also considered it a “provocation” that anti-bullfighting campaigners decided to demonstrate again, especially now that politicians have granted their requests. Animal rights activists said that they will not stop their protests until the new legislation is effective, in January 2012. They have been protesting in front of the bullring for years.

On the one hand, pro-bullfighting advocates wore dark clothes to express their deep mourning for what they consider the death of the national fiesta. The bullfighting supporters criticised Catalan politicians who promoted the ban. Their banners carried messages like “'Banning is rejecting liberty and democracy” or “Plural Catalonia? We want our bullfighting culture.” The supporters of the fiesta also criticised the Catalan government, which they define as a “dictator”.

The anti-corrida activists, on the other hand, said that they will continue their protests until the ban is effective. Once again, some 50 people protested in front of the Barcelona bullring, vehemently defending animal rights. “We have fought for a long time, and we still have to see all this for a year and a half,” said Fabiana Esquinca, spokeswoman of the anti-bullfighting groups. She referred to the fact that the ban on bullfighting will not be effective until January 2012.

“This is nothing to do with politics. We are in favour of all animals,” said Esquinca. Pro-bullfighting groups have argued that the ban is politically motivated, linked, in particular, to the widening the gap between Spain and Catalonia. They welcomed plans by the conservative Popular Party to challenge the Catalan ban in the Spanish Constitutional Court. Anti-bullfighting protestors reject those claims and hope that Catalonia will set an exemplary precedent for other regions and countries all around the world to ban this “brutal” and “bloody” “fiesta”.